Residency Requirements
Requirements for resident and nonresident students

California view

Each person applying to a California community college must be classified as a resident or nonresident. Resident tuition is reduced through support from the taxpayers of this community college district and the state of California. Nonresidents are required to cover the full costs of their tuition and therefore pay a higher rate. This page is designed to help define resident versus nonresident, how to apply for residency if you feel you are eligible for reclassification, and offer an opportunity for reduced tuition through the adoption of Assembly Bill (AB) 540.

A resident student is an individual who has lived in California for at least one year and one day prior to the beginning of a semester, and has taken steps to establish residency within the state.

A nonresident student is a person who has resided in the state for less than one year prior to the beginning of the semester, may have been in California for more than a year but took actions that don’t support the establishment of residency, or may be in the United States on a visa that precludes them from being classified as a resident. Most foreign students admitted to the United States under a student (F-1) visa cannot establish residency. The only exception is under the provisions of AB 540* (see the AB 540 section to determine if you may apply for this exemption).

Military Persons and Dependents. Active members of the armed forces while stationed in California are considered California residents for enrollment purposes. Spouses and other dependents of active military members are considered California residents during the first year in which the member was assigned to California.

Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) Holders. 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 Iraqi 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

Documentation Information

The documents that are provided must be a year and one day prior to the date the semester begins in which the student is seeking reclassification.

All documents must be received a week prior to final exams’ week for all full semester-length classes.  No appeals or documents will be accepted once final exams have begun. Residency Appeals are NOT retroactive. Once the deadline has passed, no appeals for that semester will be accepted and the student will be responsible for all applicable fees.

Reclassification to Resident Status

Based on the information you provided on your Application for Admission, you may have been classified as a nonresident of the state of California. Nonresident students are required to pay a higher rate of tuition in addition to the standard enrollment fees. To gain reclassification to resident status, please read the following information regarding residency for the California’s Community Colleges carefully.

In order to be eligible for California residency, you must be a United States (U.S.) citizen or hold a U.S. Immigration status that does not preclude you from establishing residency (see the list above). Under California law, you may be considered a resident if you have both:

  1. Lived in California continuously for at least one year and one day before the semester begins, and
  2. Proved you intended to make California your new permanent home of residence.


In 2001 the California legislature passed a law (AB 540) that exempts certain categories of students from paying nonresident tuition. To be eligible you must have completed at least three years of high school and have graduated (or earned a high school equivalency) while living and attending school in California.

The three eligible populations that may apply for AB540 are:

  1. Currently undocumented immigrants;
  2. Previously documented students on a “nonimmigrant alien” visa who have taken actions to correct their status; and
  3. U.S. citizens who are returning to California after having graduated at some point in the past left the state, but are now returning to college in California. The law allows U.S. citizens who met the AB 540 requirements to be charged the resident rate of tuition without meeting the one year and one-day requirement to reestablish residency.

Visa Status Precluded from Establishing Residency

The following visa status holders are precluded from establishing domicile regardless of their length of stay in the U.S.: B-1, B-2**, C-1, C-1D, C-2, C-3, C-4, D-1, D-2, F-1, F-2, F-3, H-2A,  H-2B, H-3, H-4 (if spouse or child of H-1B1, H-2A, H-2B, or H-3) J-1, J-2, M-1, M-2,  M-3, O-2, O-3 (if spouse or child of O-2), P-1, P-2, P-3, P-4, Q-1, Q-2, Q-3,  S-5, S-6, TWOV (transit without  visa), and NAFTA TN and TD. Undocumented and out-of-status immigrants are also prohibited from establishing residency.  Also precluded are aliens under an “Order of Supervision,” on “parole” status, visitors possessing a Border Crossing Card (BCC), Bering Straits (BE) agreement entrants, Visa Waiver Program (VWP) entrants under nonimmigrant categories WB and WT, and aliens whose very presence is unlawful, or those who overstay their visas (undocumented or out-of-status).  **B-1/B-2 are not eligible to study at Long Beach City College.