UC Santa Barbara General CatalogUniversity of California, Santa Barbara

Establishing Residency for Fee Purposes

Please note: This summation is not a complete explanation of the laws regarding residency. Additional information is available from the Office of the Registrar. Please note that changes may be made in the residence requirements between the publication date of this statement and the relevant determination date.

An adult (at least 18 years of age) U.S. citizen or eligible non-citizen must establish a permanent residence in California before he or she is entitled to pay fees at the California resident rate. The requirements for establishing residency for fee purposes are independent from all other types of residency. A resident for fee purposes is someone who meets the requirements set forth in the University of California Board of Regents Policy Relating to Residence Matters and summarized here.

The following residence regulations apply only to the University of California. Classification as a  resident at a California State University campus or California Community College campus does not guarantee that a student will be classified as a  resident when transferring to a University of California campus.

All three of the following requirements must be met for classification as a California resident:


A. Physical presence.

An adult individual (18 years or older) must establish a physical presence in California more than one year (366 days) immediately prior to the residence determination date of the term for which classification as a resident is requested.

B. Intent to establish a domicile.

Objective evidence of an individual’s intent to establish a permanent home in California is demonstrated by securing documentation that clearly demonstrates the establishment of residential ties in California, and a corresponding absence of ties to the former place of residence. Intent is evaluated as an independent element of residence, and must be coupled with physical presence. If implementation of the following actions is delayed, the commencement of the 366-day durational period will be extended until a concurrence of physical presence and intent is demonstrated.
Relevant indicia that contribute to the demonstration of intent include, but are not limited to, the following:

  1. Obtaining a California Driver License or California Identification Card.
  2. Registering a motor vehicle in California.
  3. Registering/voting in California elections.
  4. A history of employment in California.
  5. Paying California State income taxes (including taxes on income earned outside California from the date California residence was established).
  6. Designating a California permanent home address on all records (e.g., school, employment, military, etc.).
  7. Licensing for professional practice in California.
  8. Maintaining a California residence in which personal belongings are kept.


C. Financial independence.

For purposes of residence determination, financial independence is defined as the ability to support oneself financially without the help of others. A student is considered financially independent if he or she meets all of the following criteria:

  1. Is unmarried and does not have a registered domestic partner;
  2. Was not claimed as a dependent for income tax purposes by either parent or any other individual for the two tax years immediately prior to the quarter for which classification as a resident is requested;
  3. Can demonstrate self-sufficiency for the current and two previous years.

The financial independence requirement will not be a factor in residence determination if the student meets one of the following criteria:

  1. The student’s parents are residents of California.
  2. Is at least 24 years of age by December 31 of the calendar year for which classification as a resident is requested.
  3. Is a veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces.
  4. Is a ward of the court.
  5. Has a legal dependent other than a spouse or registered domestic partner.
  6. Is a married student or has a registered domestic partner who was not claimed as a dependent for income tax purposes by either parent, or any other individual for the tax year immediately preceding the term for which classification as a resident is requested.
  7. Is a graduate or professional school student who was not claimed as an income tax deduction by either parent or any other individual for the tax year immediately prior to the term for which classification as a resident is requested.
  8. Is a graduate or professional school student who is employed at the University of California 49% or more time (or receives the equivalent in departmental funding) during the quarter for which classification as a resident is requested.
  9. Reached the age of majority in California while his/her parents were residents of this state and the California resident parents leave the state to establish a residence elsewhere and the student continues to reside in California after the parents’ departure.

Please note that the above criteria apply to financial independence as it relates to residence determination only, and does not apply  to a determination of independence for financial aid or other purposes.