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How to Change Your Nonresident Status to Resident

1. At least a year before you start your first semester of classes, begin the process of becoming a California resident.

Establish a PHYSICAL PRESENCE by living in California for 366 days prior to the first day of instruction you wish to be a resident.

Establish your INTENT to become a California resident by changing your ties immediately from your previous residence to this state.  

Meet FINANCIAL INDEPENDENCE requirements and IF requested submit a Income/Expense Budget Worksheet.

* You can review PHYSICAL PRESENCE, INTENT and FINANCIAL INDEPENDENCE requirements in the UC Residence Policy and Guidelines.

Ten things graduate students need to know about UC residence for purposes of tuition and fees.

2. Determine your eligibility.

You will not be eligible for a change of classification until:
  • You are an adult over age 18 and a U.S. citizen, permanent resident, or eligible visa holder, and
  • You have established all your ties to California at least one year prior to your first semester at UCM, and
  • You can meet one of the financial independence requirements, and
  • As a continuing student, you are enrolled for the semester in which you are seeking the change of classification

3. Decide which semester you will file your Change of Classification petition and documentation.

Note: Each semester has a specific filing period. Students are urged to apply early enough to avoid paying late registration fees and to apply as soon as the filing period begins. Students are responsible for payment of all fees by the applicable fee payment deadline. If a student is denied residence and appeals the campus decision, a response from the Residence Specialist at the UC Office of General Counsel takes 10 to 12 weeks from the date of receipt for the review of your appeal.  The Change of Classification petition and documentation must be received by the UC Merced Residence Specialist by the filing period below.

Petition for Resident Classification filing periods by term:

Fall Semester: January 1 - July 31

Spring Semester: August 1 - December 31

Residence Determination Dates (RDD)

The Residence Determination Date (RDD) for all UC residency requirements (i.e., physical presence, CA intent, immigration, etc.) begins 366 days before the start of instruction.  You must have satisfied 366 consecutive days of physical presence and intent immediately prior to the RDD of the term for which you wish to receive a resident classification. 

  Residence Determination Date Grace Period to Acquire Intent
Fall 2023 Semester 8/23/2023 12/16/2022
Spring 2024 Semester 1/16/2024 5/12/2023
Fall 2024 Semester 8/28/2024 12/15/2023
Spring 2025 Semester 1/21/2025 5/10/2024


4. Send an email to request access to the online Statement of Legal Residence (SLR).  Ensure that your full name and student ID number is included in the email.

5. Make copies of all 12 applicable documents and write an explanation for all missing or late dated documents.

Note: Attach a written statement as to the circumstances of any missing or late dated documents. Make copies of all documentation to keep for your records.

Verify your physical presence, intent, and financial independence for the past year by providing:

  1. California driver's license or a California ID card within 10 days. Contact DMV for all inquiries regarding 10 day requirement. Operating a vehicle in California which is not owned by you still requires you to obtain a California driver’s license and proof of California car insurance.
  2. Voter registration card or affidavit from Registrar of Voters.
  3. The following bank account information:
    • A copy of the first month’s statement with a California bank or
    • A statement showing when address was changed to California and
    • Summer statements for the June, July, and August prior to the semester you are applying to change your classification and
    • If there are names on the account in addition to the student’s, then credit card statements which are only under the student’s name are required for those summer months.
  4. California car registration and car insurance card within 20 days. Contact DMV for all inquiries regarding 20 day requirement.
  5. Federal and all state tax returns for the past year or W2s only if you did not file in any state. Your residency will be questioned if, during the period you are claiming to be a California resident, you file a full-year resident tax return in another state or file a full-year nonresident California state tax return.
  6. Evidence of financial independence (you must meet one requirement). You:
    • Are single undergraduate under age 24 and were not claimed as a dependent for tax purposes by any other individual for the current and previous tax year and can demonstrate self-sufficiency for the current and previous tax year, or
    • Will be at least 24 years old by Dec. 31 of the academic year for which classification as a resident is requested, or
    • Graduate Student, regardless of age, or
    • Are a veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces, or
    • Serving in the U.S. Armed Forces, or
    • Are a ward of the court, foster youth, or both parents are deceased, or
    • Declared by the court to be an Emancipated Minor, or
    • Has determined to be an unaccompained youth who was homeless pursuant to federal financial rules, or
    • Have a legal dependent(s) other than a spouse or registered partner, or
    • Are a married student as of the RDD, who was not claimed as an income tax deduction by either parent or any other individual for the tax year immediately preceding the term for which classification as a resident is requested, or
    • Has received an Independent Student status determination by the UC Merced Financial Aid Office, or
    • Reached the age of majority (18) in California while your parents were residents of California, and they left the state to establish a residence elsewhere, and you continue to live in California after their departure
  7. Copy of summer pay stubs, employment verification, documentation to verify physical presence in California for the summer, or airline tickets, out of state research appointment, or paper trail of summer physical presence immediately prior to the change of classification request. Do not submit store receipts as proof of your physical presence.

    Summer actions count! A student's actions during the entire year, including the summer, affect the determination made regarding residence status for tuition purposes. A student who is in California solely for educational purposes is not eligible for California residence for tuition purposes regardless of the length of his or her stay.

    If a student returns to his or her former place of residence (outside California), he or she will be presumed to be in California solely for educational purposes and only strong evidence to the contrary will rebut this presumption.

    A student seeking to establish California residence who accepts employment or conducts research outside of California will be questioned regarding his or her attempts to find employment and/ or conduct research within California. Leaving the state for a unique research opportunity or for special circumstances (such as a medical emergency) may not preclude the student from being classified as a resident, but the burden will be on the student to provide convincing evidence that leaving the state was not inconsistent with his or her claim of permanent residence. See TEMPORARY ABSENCE section in the UC Residence Policy & Guidelines.

  8. Copies of all your housing contracts, monthly rental agreements, lease or proof of property ownership for the past year, or verification in writing from property owner of housing agreement.
  9. Proof of credit and memberships with CA merchants, e.g. stores, supermarkets, video clubs, fitness clubs, public library, magazine subscriptions, and religious affiliations.
  10. Proof of your belongings moved into California such as a moving van bill of lading, U-Haul moving van receipts, etc.
  11. Proof of utilities in your name, e.g. phone, gas, electric, TV, cable, Internet, water, etc. Submit the first and the latest statements only.
  12. If you are a permanent resident through the INS, copy of your alien registration card.

6. Submit your petition and documentation during the dates posted in step 3, and wait for a response.

Note: The student is responsible for submitting all relevant information, requested documentation, written explanations, and clarifications to support an in-state residency request by the deadline. All relevant information, requested documentation, written explanations, and clarifications that you have not submitted prior to the deadline will not be considered or reviewed by the legal analysts if you chose to appeal the final determination. Any student, following a denied change of classification, may appeal in writing to the Residence Specialist within 30 calendar days of notification of the residence deputy's decision.

Deliver or mail your petition and documentation:

  • Drop off: Students First Center
  • Mail in: Office of the Registrar, 5200 N. Lake Road, Merced, Ca 95343

Wait for an e-mail response from the Residency Deputy within 7-10 business days.