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Residence Requirements


California state law requires that each student enrolled in or applying for admission to a California community college provide information and evidence as deemed necessary by the Board of Trustees of the Allan Hancock Joint Community College District to determine his/her residence classification.

Adults 19 Years of Age and Older

A student may establish California residency by meeting the three requirements listed below. No one factor is controlling and all three criteria must be met. The responsibility for establishing residence lies with the student.

  1. Physical presence in California must be one year prior to the day before the start of the term. Residency is determined by union of act and intent. The one-year period begins when the student is not only present in California but also has demonstrated clear intent to become a permanent resident of California. 

  2. Residency Primary Determinants:

    • Possession of a valid California driver’s license or a Department of Motor Vehicles ID card
    • Filing a California state income tax return as a resident
    • Possession of a California motor vehicle license plates and registration
    • Registering to vote in California
    • For students who are in the armed forces California must be listed as the legal state of residence on their Leave and Earnings Statement (LES) and W-2 form for one year prior to the start of the term of enrollment.
  3. Residency Supplemental Determinants

    • Listing a California home address on federal tax forms;
    • Petitioning for divorce in California
    • Possession of a California license for professional practice
    • Having active California bank accounts
    • Owning residential property in California
    • Holding active membership in service or social clubs
    • Having a spouse, children, or other close relatives reside in California.
  4. Not be involved in conduct inconsistent with a claim of California residency. Some examples of inconsistent conduct which nullify intent are:

    • Maintaining voter registration in another state
    • Petitioning for a divorce in another state as a resident of that state
    • Attending an out-of-state institution as a resident of that state
    • Declaring non-residency for California state income tax purposes
    • Retaining a driver’s license and/or keeping a vehicle registered in another state during the time period for which California residence is claimed
    • Paying state income state tax in a state other than California as a resident of that state or being claimed as a dependent on state or federal taxes in a state OTHER than California during the time residency is being established in California.

Students who are members of the armed forces of the United States on active duty stationed in California, except those stationed in California for educational purposes only, and their dependents are exempt from paying non-resident tuition. There is no requirement for the military person to establish residence; however, the student must be on active duty on the residence determination date. 

Per Assembly Bill 2411 & 1346 proof of active duty status may be required. If a nonresident student who is a member of the military becomes separated from the military, he/she would be required to provide evidence of intent to establish California residence for a minimum of one year prior to the residence determination date.

A member of the armed forces who was stationed in California on active duty for more than one year prior to being discharged from the service, may be granted resident classification for up to one year if he/she lives in California after being discharged. After the one-year exception, the student would have to prove that California residence has been established (AB 723).  

Reclassification to resident status must be requested by the student.  Financial independence during the current year and preceding two years will be considered at the time the student requests reclassification.  Students who were previously classified as nonresidents must contact the Admissions and Records office to provide documentation for consideration to be classified as a resident before registering for classes and before the official start date of the term in which reclassification is requested.  Information regarding requirements for reclassification is available in the Admissions and Records office. 

Tuition fees may not be refunded to a student classified as a nonresident due to lack of documentation if at a later date documentation is presented for that previous semester.

In addition to the above, if you are not a U.S. citizen, or on a visa that allows you to establish California residency, please provide verification that you have applied for residency with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS ). 

California Residence Questionnaire

Nonresident Tuition Exemption

Nonresident students who attended a California high school for three or more years and graduated from a California high school may be exempt from nonresident tuition if they meet the following criteria.

  • The student must have attended a California high school for three or more years. There are no provisions for partial attendance (e.g. two years and 7 months). The law does not require consecutive attendance nor require that the student attended the last three years in California (in the case of four-year high schools). Such attendance could be at multiple California high schools. Attendance at continuation high schools, charter high schools, and K-12 approved independent education is acceptable. Attendance at a home school is not acceptable unless the home schooling was provided in a manner recognized under state law. The law does not distinguish between public or private high schools. There is no time limit on how far in the past the student might have attended a California high school.
  • The student must have graduated from a California high school or attained the equivalent thereof (e.g., a GED or a high school proficiency exam). There is no time limit on how far in the past the student might have attained this status.
  • In the case of a student without lawful immigration status, an affidavit must be filed with the college that indicates the student has applied for legalization or will do so as soon as the student is eligible to do so. The law does not require the institution to explore the student’s eligibility for legalization nor does it require the institution to monitor future changes in eligibility. Students may obtain the California Non-resident Tuition Exemption Request form at the Admissions and Records office or access it by clicking on the link below.
  • Except for nonimmigrant aliens, any nonresident student who meets the first two requirements shall be exempted from nonresident tuition even if he or she is a US citizen or a lawful or unlawful immigrant; however, they will not be classified as California residents.
  • Student must currently reside in California to be eligible for the exemption.

Nonresident Tuition Exemption AB540

AB 540 High School Graduation Letter
(To be completed by high school seniors, and their high school counselor, if completing the application for admission before the actual graduation date.  High schools please print on your official letterhead.) 

Seasonal Agricultural Worker Exemption

The student must provide evidence that he/she, or the student’s parents with whom the student is living, earns a livelihood primarily performing agricultural labor for hire in California and has performed such labor for at least two months in each of the preceding two years. The Seasonal Agricultural Exemption Request form may be obtained at the Admissions and Records office or accessed by clicking the link below.

Seasonal Agricultural Exemption Request  

The California non-resident tuition exemptions discussed above are not available for students who are not physically present in California. This would apply to students who are taking distance learning education classes from California community colleges. Non-resident students who meet the criteria above will be exempted from paying non-resident tuition, but they will not be classified as California residents.

Veterans Access Choice & Accountability Act site  

Students are eligible if:

  • The student is physically present in California
  • It is within 3 years of the military member’s discharge date
  • Military member was active duty at least 90 days
  • Spouse/child of eligible member who has transferred benefits

Eligible to use one of the following:

  • “John David Fry” scholarship
  • Montgomery GI Bill-Active Duty
  • Post 9/11 GI Bill (Chapters 30 or 33)

May continue to benefit after 3 year discharge is up if student is continuously enrolled

Student must complete the AB13 VACA Affidavit

Students must submit the Department of Veterans Affairs Certificate of Eligibility, military member’s DD-214 and the VACA Affidavit to the Admissions & Records Office before they register.

For information regarding residency contact the Admissions & Records office at ext. 3266.