California Residency Information
Each person applying to a California community college must be classified as a resident or nonresident. Resident tuition is reduced through support from the taxpayers of this community college district and the state of California. Nonresidents are required to cover the full costs of their tuition and therefore pay a higher rate. The web page is designed to help define resident versus nonresident, how to apply for residency if you feel you are eligible for reclassification, and offer a new opportunity for reduced tuition through the adoption of Assembly Bill (AB) 540.
A resident student is an individual who has lived in California for at least one year and one day prior to the beginning of a semester, and has taken steps to establish residency within the state.
A nonresident student is a person who has resided in the state for less than one year prior to the beginning of the semester, may have been in California for more than a year but took actions that don't support the establishment of residency, or may be in the United States on a visa that precludes them from being classified as a resident. See the Residency Forms section of this web page to determine if you may apply for this exemption.
The Office of Admissions and Records is charged with making residency determinations. Students classified as nonresidents who feel they should be reclassified can do so by filling out the Saddleback College California Residency Reclassification Questionnaire that may be downloaded from this site. Ensure you provide all possible documentation available to assist us in making a determination with your case.
Reclassification to resident status must be initiated by the students. Evidence of residency and intent to reside in California for at least one year and one day prior to the coming semester's start date must be submitted to the Admissions & Records. Allow 10 working days for residency review.
If you enroll in classes pending notification of approval for the qualifying semester, you are responsible for the quoted tuition.
If you are approved, based on the submitted documents, we will refund the nonresident tuition that you have paid.
Under California law, a person who is married or 18 years of age, or older may establish residency if the person
- Is a U.S citizen or is under an INS status that allows them to establish domicile.
- Has lived in California continuously for at least one year and one day before the semester begins,and
- Can prove that they intend to make California his/her permanent home with concurrent relinquishment of the prior legal residence.
Reference: Education Code Section 68018, 68061, 76140, Title 5 54020, 54022
The Permanent Resident Card holder and the following visa holders may establish domicile and may qualify for instate tuition one year after date of approval: A-1, A-2, A-3, E-1, E-2, G-1, G-2, G-3, G-4, H-1, H-4, I, K-1,K-2, K-3, K-4, L-1, L-2, N-8, N-9, NATO-1 thru NATO-7, O-1, O-3, Q-2, R-1, R-2, S-5, S-6, T, T-1, T-2, T-3, T-4 and V-1, V-2, V-3.
Reference: Education Code Section 68062(h), (i); Title 5 54045, Regents of University of California v. Bradford
The following actions provide intent:
- Filed California income Tax Form 540 as a resident. The completed tax form must be shown.
- Certificate of employment, a formal letter from employer, or salary records
- Registered to vot and voting in California
- Ownership of residential property or occupancy of rented or leased property in California
- License in California for professional practice
- Possession of a California motor vehicle registration
- Establish and maintain active bank accounts in California
- Filed a lawsuit in California as a resident
- Possession of a California driver's license or ID Card
- Maintain California as your home of record while in the armed forces
- Armed forces member, stationed on active duty in California
- Military dependent of an armed forces’ member, stationed on active duty in California
If you feel you are eligible for in-state tuition based on the above information, you will need to:
- If applicable, submit a copy of the current visa (I-94) or INS approval letter (I-130, I-817, I-140)
- Complete and submit the California Residency Questionnaire (PDF) and copies of as many documents listed above to support your claim of residency to the Office of Admissions, Records and Enrollment Services.
- You will be notified of a decision within 10 working days of when your documents are received.
If you are a CA resident currently attending an out of state college or university you must submit:
- From the state or public college/university: a tuition receipt from your most current semester, showing you pay out of state tuition at that college
- From the private college/university: a tuition receipt, or your current class schedule, or verification of enrollment.
Members of the armed forces stationed on active duty in California are considered instate for tuition purposes. Spouses and dependents of an armed force member stationed on active duty in California shall be entitled to instate tuition for the duration of the student's enrollment at the California Community College. Fill out the California Residency Questionnaire Form and submit supporting documentation to the Admissions & Records office to be reclassified as Military Personell for tuition purposes.
In 2001 the California legislature passed a law (AB 540) that exempts certain categories of students from paying nonresident tuition. To be eligible you must have competed at least three years of high school and have graduated (or earned a high school equivalency) while living and attending school in California.
The three eligible populations are:
- currently undocumented immigrants;
- previously documented students on a "nonimmigrant alien" visa who have taken actions to correct their status; and
- U.S. citizens who are returning to California after having graduated at some point in the past, left the state, but are now returning to college in California.
The law allows U.S. citizens who met the AB 540 requirements to be charged the resident rate of tuition without meeting the one year and one day requirement to reestablish residency.
* Students who hold nonimmigrant visas, [for example, Tourist (B-1, B-2), Foreign Student (F-1), NAFTA (TN & TD) and Exchange Student (J), ect.] are not eligible for this exemption.
If you feel you may be eligible, please download, and complete the *AB540 Affidavit (form)
and turn it in to the Office of Admissions, Records, and Enrollment Services for consideration.
* You will need Adobe Acrobat Reader in order to VIEW and PRINT the forms. If you do not have Adobe Acrobat, please click here to download it.
I was classified as a non- resident and my address in California has never changed. Why am I a non-resident?
I was classified as a non-resident and I have lived in California for a long time. Why am I a non-resident?
Why do I have to fill out the California Residency Questionnaire Form?
I made a mistake on my application or my parent/spouse filled out my application and an error was created. Can I call and ask that the Admissions Department fix it; or can I have my application back so that I can fix it?
Q:I was classified as a non- resident and my address in California has never changed. Why am I a non-resident?
A: You may have indicated a yes to questions 1-4 listed below and/or a No to question 5. If so, you might have met the intent, but you might not be able to meet the physical presence in California.
If you fall into one of the above categories, please view the California Residency Questionnaire Form to find out what documents you will need to meet the physical presence requirement.
- Did you leave California to attend an out of state college or university?
- Did you leave California to participate in an internship in another state?
- Did you move to another state as a result of a job transfer?
- Did you move to another state temporarily other than a vacation?
- Have you lived in California for at least the last two years?
Q: I was classified as a non-resident and I have lived in California for a long time. Why am I a non-resident?
A: Do any of these questions apply to you?
You may have met the intent requirement; however, you might not have met your INS status. An individualís approved INS status to establish domicile in the U.S. must be consistent with the one year and one day residency determination date required for tuition purposes. If you fall into one of the above categories, please view the California Residency Questionnaire Form to find out what documents you will need to meet the legal status reclassification. Please note that although you may have the California state documentation, you must first meet the legal status.
- Were you born in another country?
- Is your legal status other status?
- Has your visa expired or will it expire before the end of term in which you are applying?
- Have you changed or adjusted your legal status recently?
- Have you just arrived in this country after a visit to your country?
Q: Why do I have to fill out the California Residency Questionnaire Form?
A: Answering the questions and more importantly, signing the Questionnaire form gives Saddleback College permission to change the original information you provided when you submitted your application for admissions. In addition, the Questionnaire form is a point of reference for our state auditors when they come annually to audit our non-resident records.
Q: I made a mistake on my application: my parent/spouse filled out my application and an error was created. Can I call and ask that the Admissions Department fix it; or can I have my application back so that I can fix it?
A: No, an application is a legal document which becomes part of a studentís record. When an application is filled out incorrectly, the student still needs to fill out the Residency Questionnaire form and attach the pertinent documentation to correct the error.