California Residency Requirements

Residency Categories

Applicants for admission are divided into the following categories:

  1. Applicants whose legal residence is in California.
  2. Applicants who do not qualify as legal California residents for tuition purposes are determined to have nonresident status. Such applicants will be required to pay nonresident tuition fees unless they meet the qualifications for an exemption (Non-Resident Tuition Exemption) or meet the conditions of a Special Circumstance (California Residency Special Circumstances).

Non-Resident Tuition Exemption | California Residency Special Circumstances


California Residency Requirements

Under California State Education Code regulations that govern the California Community Colleges, classification as a California resident requires that a person be physically present in this state for two years prior to the beginning of the term for which he/she is applying. One year of physical presence may be acceptable if documentation of intent to reside can be provided.

Residency classification shall be determined for each student at the time of admission and whenever a student has not been in attendance for more than one semester. Evidence is required to prove physical presence in California and intent to make California the permanent home.

Establishing California Residence

To establish California residency for tuition purposes, you must:

  1. Be eligible to be a California resident
  2. Have one year’s physical residence in the state of California
  3. Show evidence of intent to reside in California.
  4. Students who are between the ages of 18-24 years old and have moved to California must be able to demonstrate evidence of financial independence from a parent who lives out of state. 
California Residency Requirement Criteria

American citizens or permanent residents of the USA who have not resided in California for more than the required period immediately preceding the residence determination date will be subject to the non-resident tuition fee as set forth by the college prior to the start of each academic year.

Non-Immigrant visa holders who are in the USA under a non-immigrant classification such as B, C, D, F, H, J, or M cannot gain a resident status since the law relating to him/her provides that he/she is required to maintain a residence in another country and is only allowed to remain in the USA temporarily.

Persons with a valid B1 and/or B2 issued after April 12, 2002, are not eligible to enroll in a course of study as a student unless he or she has filed and been granted a change in status which allows he or she to be admitted.

Persons with F, J, and M status may be admitted to the college as full-time students subject to admission to the College's International Student Program.

A change in non-immigrant status is the responsibility of the student.

If non-citizens are present in the USA illegally or with any type of temporary visa, they will be classified as non-residents and charged the non-resident tuition. The District will admit any non-citizen who is at least 18 years of age or possesses a high school diploma or equivalent.

If, for at least one year and one day prior to the start of the semester in question, a non-citizen has possessed any immigration status that allows him/her to live permanently in the USA and he/she meets the California residency requirements, the student can be classified as a resident.

The following persons eligible to establish California residency are:

  • U.S. Citizens
  • Permanent Residents (Documentation required)
  • Holders of Visas Types: A-1, A-2, A-3, E-1, E-2, G-1, G-2, H-1, H-4*, I, K, L-1, L-2, O-1, O-3, R, T or U (Documentation required) * H-4 visa holders: Please also provide a copy of H1 or H1-B visa from whom you derive your H-4 visa.
  • Asylees or Refugees (Documentation required)
  • Undocumented or Holders of Visa Types that prohibit the establishment of residency who have filed a change of status (Documentation required). Change of status includes:
    • Applying for Permanent Residency
    • Applying for Legalization pursuant to Immigration Reform and Control Act
    • Applying for a change of status to a visa which permits establishing domicile (These visa applications must be granted.) Visas include: A, E, G, H-1, H-4*, I , K, L, O-1, O-3, R, T or U.
    • Applying for Asylum
    • Applying for Family Unity Program
    • Applying for Temporary Protected

Please be advised that an Employment Authorization Card is not an eligible status to gain residency (Form I-765)

Physical Presence and Intent

The burden is on the student to demonstrate clearly physical presence in California, intent to establish California residence, and financial independence.

Exceptions to the residency requirements include, but are not limited to the following:

  • Active Military personnel stationed in California*
  • Dependents of active duty military personnel stationed in California*
  • Certain minors who remained in California when their parents moved*
  • Self-supporting minors*
  • Full-time employees of the college or a state agency, or a child or spouse of the full-time employee*

*Documentation will be required.

Physical Presence

  1. Persons capable of establishing residence in California must be physically present in California for two years or one year if they have supporting evidence of a declaration of intent that is dated one year prior to the residence determination date to be classified as a resident student.
  2. The one-year residence period which a student must meet to be classified as a resident does not begin until the student is both present in California and has manifested clear intent to become a California resident.
  3. Physical presence within the state solely for educational purposes does not constitute establishing California residence regardless of the length of that presence.


Intent to establish California residence may be manifested in many ways. A minimum of two documents is required to verify both the intent to reside in California and your continuous physical presence in California for one year. Documents submitted must include the name of the student and be dated one year prior to the residency determination date of the semester for which the student is applying. The residency determination date is the immediately preceding opening day of instruction of any session. The following are acceptable documentation:

  • California State income tax return filed as a resident (Form 540) coupled with employment W2 form(s)
  • Valid California Motor Vehicle Registration
  • Valid California Driver's License or California Identification Card
  • Voter's Registration in California
  • Rental or Lease Agreements in California
  • Bank statements from an active bank account in California
  • Maintaining permanent military address or home of record in California while in the armed forces
  • Having paid non-resident tuition at an educational institution in another state
  • Receiving benefits from the state of California: Passport to Services Summary from the Human Services Agency demonstrating receipt of benefits such as CalFresh, Medi-Cal, Cash aid,etc.
Financial Independence

Financial independence of a student classified as a nonresident seeking classification as a resident shall be included among the factors to be considered in the determination of residency. The Financial Dependency section of the Residency Reclassification Petition determines financial independence and must be completed for reclassification. Determination of financial independence is not required for students who were classified as non-residents by the University of California, the California State University, or another community college district (Education Code 68044).

A student shall be considered financially independent for purposes of residence reclassification if the application meets all of the following requirements:

  • Has not and will not be claimed as an exemption for state and federal tax purposes by his or her parent in the calendar year the reclassification application is made and in any of the three calendar years prior to reclassification application, and
  • Has not received more than seven hundred fifty dollars ($750) per year in financial assistance from his or her parent in the calendar year the reclassification application is made and in any of the three calendar years prior to the reclassification application, and
  • Has not lived and will not live for more than six weeks in the home of his or her parent during the calendar year the reclassification application is made and in any of the three calendar years prior to the reclassification application

A student who has established financial independence may be reclassified as a resident if the student has met the requirements of Title 5, Sections 54020, 54022, and 54024.

Failure to satisfy all of the financial independence criteria listed above does not necessarily result in denial of residence status if the one-year requirement is met and demonstration of intent is sufficiently strong. 

How to Request for Reclassification

According to Board Policy, a student must file a Residency Reclassification Petition prior to the semester for which reclassification is be effective.

Students must file the Residency Reclassification Petition prior to the opening day of the semester for which reclassification is be effective to request a review of their residency status. Residency Reclassification Petitions may be filed through the third week of the given semester to request a review of residency status if extenuating circumstances exist which prohibited the student from filing the petition prior to the residency determination date.

Filing Deadline Dates

Spring 2024  February 2, 2024
Summer 2024 June 14, 2024
Fall 2024 September 6, 2024

Residency Reclassification Petitions are available in the Admissions and Records Office, DeRicco Building, Lobby or online through the Admissions & Records Forms site under "Admissions Forms".

What if my petition is denied?

Students who have been classified as non-residents have the right to a review of their classification. Following the final determination of residence classification by the Admissions & Records Office, the student may submit a written appeal to the Director of Admissions & Records within 30 calendar days of notification of the final decision by the college regarding classification.

The appeal is submitted in the Admissions and Records Office to the Director of Admissions & Records. The request will be forwarded to the director within 5 working days of receipt of the appeal. The director shall review all the records and has the right to request for additional information from the student or the Admissions and Records Office.

Within 30 calendar days of receipt, the Director of Admissions & Records shall send a written determination to the student. The determination shall state specific facts upon which the appeal decision was made.

Incorrectly Classified as a California Resident

A student incorrectly classified as a California resident is subject to reclassification as a non-resident and payment of all non-resident tuition. If incorrect classification results from false or misleading facts, a student may be excluded from classes or the college upon notification.

Falsification of Residency Information 

Providing false information necessary for establishment of residency classification will result in disciplinary action and may result in dismissal from San Joaquin Delta College.

Limitation of Residency Regulations

Students are cautioned that this summary of regulations regarding residency determination is by no means a complete explanation of their meaning or content.


For further information, you may email inquiries to If you are a current student, please include your full name and Delta ID.