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California State Residency Requirements for Community Colleges

The following information is extracted from California Education Code sections 68000 and after, as well as California Administrative Code Title V, sections 54000-54072.

Each student at the time of admission or returning to Butte College (after being absent for one semester or more) will be classified according to his/her legal residence. Evidence may be required to prove physical presence in California and intent to make California the permanent home.

Request for Residency Evaluation Form

Residency determination shall be made as of the first day of the semester of application.

A Legal Resident of California Must Do Three Things

1. Obtain physical presence in California one year and one day prior to the residency determination date. Note: The one year period begins when you are not only present in California but also have demonstrated clear intent to become a permanent resident of California.

Acceptable evidence of physical presence:

  • Owning residential property or continuous occupancy of rented or leased property in California
  • Current registration to vote and voting in California
  • Having a current license for a California business
  • Showing California as a home address on State or Federal tax forms for the previous two years
  • Evidence of California employment for the last two years
  • Transcripts from a California high school or college for the last two years

2. Demonstrate a clear intent to make California your permanent place of residency: (No one factor is controlling.)

Acceptable evidence of intent:

  • Possessing California driver's license
  • Possessing California motor vehicle license plates
  • Establishing and maintaining active California bank accounts
  • Holding active membership in service or social clubs
  • Utility bills (gas, water, power, telephone)
  • Documentation of credit agreements with Califoria businesses

3. Not be involved in conduct inconsistent with a claim of California residency. Some examples of inconsistent conduct are. Note: Butte College considers these above all others:

  • Maintaining voter registration in another state
  • Being a petitioner for divorce in another state
  • Attending an out-of-state institution as a resident of that state
  • Declaring non-residency for state income tax purposes
  • Maintaining a driver's license and/or vehicle registration in another state
    Special residency rules: There are special residency rules which may apply in the following cases:
  • Re-establishing California residency: For complete details on your specific situation , please contact the Residency Technician.
  • 19 years of age or under and unmarried
  • Military Spouse/dependents)
  • Aliens and refugees

California Nonresident Tuition Exemption - AB 540

Some students may qualify for an AB 540 waiver. This waiver entitles students who qualify to have their non-resident fees waived for the semester.

AB540 Cover Letter

AB540 Request Form

General Information:

Any student, other than a nonimmigrant alien, who meets all of the following requirements, shall be exempt from paying nonresident tuition at the California Community Colleges, the California State University and the University of California.


  1. The student must have attended a high school (public or private) in California for three or more years.
  2. The student must have graduated from a California high school or attained the equivalent prior to the start of the term (for example, passing the GED or California High School Proficiency Exam)
  3. An alien student who is without lawful immigration status must file an affidavit with the college or university stating that he or she has filed an application to legalize his or her immigration status, or will file an application as soon as he or she is eligible to do so.
    • Students who are nonimmigrants [for example, those who hold F(student) visas, B(visitor) visas, etc.] are not eligible for this exemption.
    • The student must file an exemption request including a signed affidavit with the college that indicates the student has met all applicable conditions described above. Student information obtained in this process is strictly confidential unless disclosure is required under law.
    • Students eligible for this exemption who are transferring to another California public college or university must submit a new request (and documentation if required) to each college under consideration.
    • Nonresident students meeting the criteria will be exempted from the payment of nonresident tuition, but they will not be classified as California residents. They continue to be "nonresidents".
    • AB 540 may provide undocumented students with eligibility for state financial aid programs and scholarships. These students remain ineligible for federal financial aid.

Procedures for requesting this exemption from nonresident tuition:

Complete the California Nonresident Tuition Exemption Request. Submit to the Admissions and Records Office after you have enrolled in classes. You may be required to submit additional documentation.

If you have already been classified as a non-resident and you wish to appeal that decision you must complete the Residency Reevaluation form. If you need assistance you may contact the Residency Technician at (530) 895-2546.

Content editor:

Aaron Fultz 
(530) 895-2535

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