California Residency Requirements

A California resident is defined as one who has established both physical presence and intent to make California their permanent home for more than one year and one day from the Residency Determination Date. 

Students must meet the following requirements:

  • Eligible to be a California resident (legal status)
  • One year's continuous physical presence in the state of California
  • Intent to remain in California
  • Evidence of financial independence

Non-residents still may attend the college subject to non-resident tuition in addition to all other college mandatory fees. Students with visas, which require residency in the country granting the visa, will be required to pay a nonresident tuition fee and the enrollment fee. For the most up to date fees please see the MJC Business Services Office page.

Residency Reclassification at Modesto Junior College

Students who have been classified as a non-resident may petition to be reclassified as a California resident if their status has changed. The form is available in the Enrollment Services Offices and must be submitted with the appropriate documentation. Reclassification requests must be submitted prior to the start of the semester in which reclassification is requested. Please see the Residency Consideration Form for more information.

Appropriate residency documentation may include, but is not limited to the following:

  • Ownership or leased property
  • Registered to vote
  • License for professional practice
  • Motor vehicle license registration
  • Valid CA driver’s license or identification card
  • Establish and maintaining an active bank account
  • Maintaining permanent military address, or home of record in CA while serving in the Armed Forces
  • Petition for divorce
  • Utility bills
  • Medical bills

Financial Independence documents:

  • Federal and state income tax return
  • CA Unemployment (EDD)
  • CA verification of public assistance or county services
  • Proof of employment
  • Financial Aid award letter
  • Social Security award letter

All proofs must include the following information: 1) Students name 2) California Address 3) Residency determination date

Due to the complexity of determining residency, we reserve the right to ask for any additional documentation as may be needed on a case by case basis (To be determined by an Admissions & Records Specialist).

Residency and Non-Citizens

Non-citizen students, if their visa does not preclude them from establishing residency in the United States, may be classified as residents if they have resided in California more than one year and one day and if USCIS documents were issued or approved more than one year and one day prior to the beginning of the term. Examples of USCIS documentation that may be requested include:

  • Resident Alien Card
  • Permanent Resident Card
  • I-94 Form
  • Visa
  • Passport
  • Employment Authorization Card

Students whose USCIS documents were issued less than one year and one day prior to the start of the semester will be considered non-residents for tuition purposes. If the issue date on your USCIS document is not one year and one day old, you can use it in combination with your application for adjustment of status as long as the process started one year and one day prior to the start of the semester.

Aliens may establish residence if not precluded by the immigration and Nationality Act from establishing in the United States; provided that the student has had residence in California for more than one year and one day prior to the residence determination date.

Deadlines & Determination Dates

  • Residency Determination Date is defined as the day immediately preceding the first day of instruction for the semester.  All proofs submitted as part of documentation must be dated prior to the determination date for the term you are applying for residency reclassification.
  • Deadlines to submit the Residency Consideration Form and all proper documentation vary by semester.  Late forms and/or documentation cannot be accepted for the current term, but can be used for a future term that meets the residency requirements.

Filing deadline dates and residency determination dates:

  Filing Deadline Residency Determination Date
Summer 2021 05/13/2021 05/02/2020
Fall 2021 09/06/2021 08/22/2020
Spring 2022 01/21/2022 01/09/2021

AB540 (Nonresident Tuition Exemption)

What is AB540?

Signed into law in October 2001, California Assembly Bill 540 (AB 540) is a bill that provides an exemption to the requirement to pay nonresident tuition.  California Community College students who are granted an AB 540 exemption, will be charged in-state tuition and fees, and not the supplemental tuition charged to nonresidents.

Who is Eligible?

Students (including undocumented students) who, for various reasons, are classified as nonresidents may be eligible. You must meet all three of the following requirements to be eligible. Please see the AB 540 Exemption form for more information.

1. Time and coursework requirements

California community college means either 12 units of credit per semester (or quarter equivalent per year) or a minimum of 420 class hours per year (or semester or quarter equivalent per year) in non-credit courses authorized by Education Code section 84757. Attendance in credit courses at a California community college counted towards this requirement shall not exceed a total of two years of full-time attendance.

        A. Attendance for three full-time years or the equivalent at any combination of the following:

      • California high school
      • California adult school (established by a county office of education, a unified school district or high school district, or the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation)
      • California community college (maximum of two years of credit bearing courses can count toward this requirement)


        B. Three years of California high school coursework and three years of total attendance at a California

             Elementary school, California secondary school, or any combination of the two

2. Degree or Unit Requirements
    • Meet one of the following requirements:
      • Graduated from a California high school (or attainment of the equivalent)
      • Earned an associate’s degree from a California community college
      • Fulfilled the minimum transfer requirements from a California community college to a UC or CSU campus
3. Signed Nonresident Exemption Request
    • You also must have signed the California Nonresident Exemption Request, which states that you meet all the requirements to qualify for AB 540 status and, if you are undocumented, are in the process of adjusting your immigration status (or will do so as soon as you are eligible).

The exemption is not available for students who are absent from California, and are taking distance education classes from California community colleges.

AB 343 (Non-Resident Tuition Exemption)

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, SS 1244)
  • Afghan and Iraqi translators (and their spouses and children) who worked directly with the United States Armed Forces (Pub. L. No. 109-163, SS 1059)
  • Afghanistan nationals (and their spouses and children) 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, SS 602)
  • Refugee students admitted to the United States under Section 1157 of Title 8 of the United States Code

Please contact our office with any further questions at (209)575-6853 or by email at