Special Immigrant Visa

Education Code section 68075.6 grants an immediate nonresident tuition fee exemption to eligible Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) holders and refugee students who settled in California upon entering the United States. This exemption is granted for one year from the date the student settled in California upon entering the United States.

This exemption applies to the following:

  • Iraqi citizens or nationals (and their spouses and children) who were employed by or on behalf of the United States Government in Iraq (Pub.L. No. 110-181, § 1244)
  • Afghan and Iraq translators (and their spouses and children) who worked directly with the United States Armed Forces (Pub.L. No. 109-163, § 1059)
  • Afghanistan nationals who were employed by or on behalf of the U.S. government or in the International Security Assistance Force {ISAF} in Afghanistan (Pub.L. No. 111-8, § 602)
  • Refugee students admitted to the United States under Section 1157 of Title 8 of the United States Code.

These exemptions only apply to those who settled in California upon entering the United States. (Ed. Code, § 68075.6, subd. (b)(1).) Students who settled elsewhere in the United States, and then moved to California would not be eligible for this exemption and would be required to either establish residency or pay nonresident tuition. Under Education Code section 68122, T and U visa holders are also exempt from nonresident tuition by extension of Assembly Bill 343. 

Assembly Bill 343 also states that the exemption for a student is only available for the maximum time it would take for the student to establish residency. (Ed. Code, § 68075.6, subd. (b)(1).) That time, and therefore any nonresident tuition exemption, will expire one year from the date the student settled in California upon entering the United States. (Ed. Code, § 68017.) Upon expiration of the nonresident tuition exemption, the student will either have established residency in California, or will have an intention to reside elsewhere, and be subject to nonresident tuition.

Students who believe they fit the above criteria may complete a Residency Reclassification Petition and submit copies of supporting documentation to the Admissions & Records Office to determine their eligibility for the above exemption waiver or California residency reclassification or non-resident classification.