I moved to California a little under a year ago after falling in love with the state, and don't see myself ever moving back to my native New York. I work as a software engineer, and I'm also a full-time student while I finish my computer science degree.

The problem is, my parents suggested I use their address for school while settling in, in case of delays moving into the home I've now been living in for several months, and I was labeled a non-resident. As a non-resident, I'm paying several times the tuition that would be paid by a resident, and thus I intend to change my status once I hit the one year mark.

How would I go about changing my residency status to resident as considered by a state college?

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    The school almost certainly has detailed information about this. See for instance registrar.berkeley.edu/tuition-fees-residency/…. Commented Jun 21, 2017 at 23:10
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    There's a cautionary note there: If you are a nonresident undergraduate student under the age of 24, whose parents are not California residents, you most likely will remain classified as nonresident for the duration of your undergraduate career. Commented Jun 21, 2017 at 23:27
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    As alluded to above, resident vs non-resident are not defined thevsame way for the government amd the university. Universities tend to make up their own rules on who is a non-resident. You need to look up their policies because your legal residency status with the state of California may not be relevant at all.
    – animuson
    Commented Jun 22, 2017 at 6:29
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    @animuson the University of California is the government. The rules are made by the state legislature. It's just that the state legislature makes different rules for different purposes (income tax, driver licensing, and tuition rates being the main examples).
    – phoog
    Commented Dec 17, 2017 at 22:30

1 Answer 1


Various acts will establish residency: using a California address as your "permanent address", registering to vote in California, getting a California driver's license (or at least "renouncing" your NY license), registering your car in California. It takes 366 days of physical presence to change residence. Finally, you have to be financially independent. The requirements for establishing financial independence are rather onerous (it takes 2 years of financial independence, which is computed in terms of tax years, not academic years).

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