Southwestern College

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California state law requires that a student who is applying for admission or who is currently enrolled and is requesting residency reclassification, provide information and evidence to determine his or her status. (Education Code, Sections 68000 – 68090 & 76140)

Please note that the information posted on the residency page is in no way a complete explanation of the residency laws and regulations. Some cases require more extensive investigation and will be handled on a case-by-case basis. However, the burden of proof to clearly demonstrate both physical presence and intent is the responsibility of the student.

Residency is determined by the union of physical presence and evidence of intent to make California the permanent home for one prior year as of the residence determination date. The residence determination date is the day immediately preceding the opening day of a semester or session.

ALL documentation must be received by the week before Final Examination Week begins for full-semester-length classes. [See Important Dates and Deadlines for current semester dates.] No appeals or documents will be accepted once final exams have begun. 

Residency appeals are NOT retroactive. Once Final Examination Week begins, no appeals for that semester will be accepted and the student will be responsible for all applicable fees.

A legal resident of California must provide verification of the following*:

  1. Physical presence for one year prior to the residency determination date includes but is not limited to:
    • Rental/lease agreement
    • Utility bills
    • Employment paystubs
    • Bank statements
  2. Intent -- acceptable intent includes but is not limited to:

Students who have immigrant or non-immigrant status may also be required to submit verification of their application date or adjustment of status from U.S. Citizenship and Immigrations Services (USCIS).

    The following may be inconsistent with the claim to establish California residency:
  • Maintaining out-of-state driver's license or vehicle registration.
  • Filing the California non-resident tax form.
  • Maintaining voter registration in another state.
  • Attending an out-of-state institution as a resident of that state.
  • Petitioning for divorce in another state.
  • Paying resident tax to another state.


Unmarried minors derive their residency status from the parent with whom they are residing. If the minor is not living with either parent, residency is derived from the parent with whom he or she last lived. The student may be classified as a resident if the parent meets the residency requirements.

There are some exceptions to the rule for minors and these exceptions are determined on a case-by-case basis.


An undocumented immigrant is a person who has no documents evidencing that he or she has applied to the BASES to legalize his or her status in this country.

Undocumented immigrants are not eligible to establish California residency. However, they may become eligible to establish California residency if they take the appropriate steps with BCIS to change their status to a classification that does not preclude them from establishing domicile in the U.S.

There is an exemption from payment of nonresident tuition for certain nonresident students who have attended high school in California and received a high school diploma or its equivalent. For more information, please see AB540 - Can it work for you?


Those considered eligible to establish California residency are permanent residents, lawful temporary residents, amnesty, refugees*, asylees, and the people on certain alien visas, which include, but are not limited to, valid visas in the following categories: A-1, A-2, A-3, E-1, E-2, E-2C, E-3, G-1,
G-2, G-3, G-4, G-5, H-1B, H-1C, H-4 (if spouse or child of H-1B or H-1C), I, K-1,
K-2, K-3, K-4, L-1A, L-1B, L-2, NATO 1 through 7, N-8, N-9, O-1, O-3 (if spouse or child
of O-1), and R-1, R-2, SIV*, T-1, T-2, T-3, T-4, T-5, T-6, U-1, U-2, U-3, U-4, U-5, V-1, V-2, V-3.

*Refugees and SIV holders may be entitled to an immediate exemption from nonresident tuition if upon entry to the United States, they first settled in California.

NOTE: Noncitizens admitted to the United States on an immigrant visa status would be considered eligible to establish residence even if a particular visa number is not listed above.


Students with B-1, B-2, C-1 to C-4, D-1, D-2, F-1, F-2, F-3, H-1B1, H-2A, H-2B, H-3, H-4, J-1, J-2, M-1, M-2, M-3, O-2, O-3, P-1 to P-4, Q-1 to Q-3, S-5 to S-7, TD, TN, and TWOV Visas are precluded from establishing residency and cannot be classified as residents.

Note: Mexican Nationals who currently posses a valid B1/B2 visa and/or Mexican passport, must submit an international student application to the Southwestern College Admissions Office (International Student Advisor) prior to submitting a general college application.

Non-resident classification: Requires that a student pay the current California enrollment fees, plus the additional non-resident tuition.

California Resident classification: Entitles a student to pay the current California enrollment fees.

Please refer to the tuition fee schedule for current fees

Active U.S. military personnel, U.S. military veterans, and their dependents may qualify for waivers of out-of-state tuition fees under certain conditions.


Active U.S. Military Personnel

Active military personnel regardless of the length of stay in California shall be classified as residents and are exempt from non-resident tuition.

Requirements: Verification of active status with military identification every term of re-enrollment.

Required form(s): None. Must present military ID to Admissions personnel.

Dependents of active U.S. military personnel

A student who is a natural or adopted child, stepchild or spouse of an active military member shall be given resident classification until he or she has resided in California the minimum time necessary to become a resident.

Requirements: Student must be a dependent for federal income tax purposes. Student must not have lived in California for more than one year since arriving or since attaining age 18, whichever came later. Student must submit dependent waiver form with signature and seal/stamp of sponsor's command.

Required form: Military Dependent Application for Waiver of Non-Resident Tuition (completed and sealed/stamped by authorized personnel at sponsor's command)

U.S. Military Veterans and Dependents of Veterans

A student who was a member of the Armed Forces of the United States discharged within the last three (3) years (or who is a dependent of such a veteran) is entitled to a waiver of non-resident tuition.


  • Veterans must submit a copy of form DD-214 and Certificate of Eligibility issued by the Veterans Administration confirming the approved education benefits for the veteran student along with the waiver form.
  • Dependents must submit a copy of Sponsor's DD-214 and Certificate of Eligibility along with the waiver form.
  • Surviving Spouse or Children must submit DD-214 and Fry Scholarship documentation along with the waiver form.

Required form: AB13 VACA Veteran Dependent Waiver

Forms for Military Residency

All relevant forms may be found on our Printable Residency Forms page, or in the Admissions office. Alternative formats are available on request.

Residency Contact Information

Any questions regarding residency should be directed to the following staff:

Admissions & Records Technicians

(619) 421-6700, ext. 5215 or 5216


TO REQUEST PLEASE CALL (619) 482-6512 OR TTY (619) 482-6470

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Last updated: 11/27/2018 9:03:49 AM