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Residency Requirements

California residence:  To qualify as a resident of California for tuition purposes, applicants must have lived in California for a year and a day prior to the start of the semester they wish to enroll.

Out-of-State: Applicants whose legal residence is outside the state of California are required to pay nonresident tuition in addition to the enrollment fees.

How to Become a California Resident

In order to be classified as a resident of California you need to:

  • Reside in California for at least one year and one day prior to the start of the semester in which you anticipate enrolling; and
  • Establish clear intent that you are making California your home; and
  • Be a U.S. Citizen, permanent resident or hold a valid Visa which allows residency to be established.

Establishing Residency

To establish residency we look at several factors to verify your intent to make California your home.  Items which we will take into consideration when reviewing your status are:

  • California State Income Tax return (with valid California address)/Federal Income Tax return (with valid California address)- California return is preferred.
  • Possession of a California Driver's License or California Identification Card indicating your presence in California for the specified classification time period.
  • Documentation that you have been a registered voter in California for at least one year.
  • Proof of vehicle registration as a resident of California.
  • Evidence that you have had a savings or checking account in California for at least one year.
  • Verification that you are financially independent from your parents.
  • Selective service registration with a California permanent address.
  • Documentation of having received rehabilitation, unemployment, welfare or other California state service while residing in California for at least a year and a day prior to the term start date.
  • Recent high school transcript or other California college transcript showing enrollment within the last year.
  • Ownership of residential property or continuous occupancy in a rented/leased property in California.

When trying to prove residency, one of these items alone is not enough to decide if you are a resident of California.  We require at least two items to support a Statement of Legal Residence Form when evaluating residency.

Those students who have been away from Napa Valley College for two semesters or longer (excluding summer) will need to complete the Statement of Legal Residence Form and submit it to Admissions & Records. The form needs to be accompanied by the same forms of documentation as stated above.

Members of the Military

Military personnel stationed on active duty in California are exempt from non-resident tuition for the duration of their attendance at Napa Valley College as long as they remain in active duty status.

Dependent students of active duty members are entitled to California resident classification as long as the member of the U.S. armed forces is on active duty and stationed in California.  Other regulations may apply if members of the U.S. armed forces retires or is discharged.  Please inquire with the Admissions and Records office if you have questions pertaining to your status.

My situation is special. Who can I talk to for more information?
If you have questions about your status as a resident, please ask Maria Lopez, A&R Specialist ( for help. We will be happy to work with you and will answer your questions and tell you what other information you might need to provide. In some cases, we may require that you provide further documentation then what is listed above to best serve you. 

I am not a resident but have graduated from a California high school.  Can I receive California residency?
Yes.  If you attended high school in California for three or more years and graduated from a California high school or attained the equivalent thereof are exempted from payment of the non-resident tuition in credit courses if they meet the above mentioned criteria.  If the student is not a lawful immigrant, the student must file the California Non-Resident Tuition Exemption Request (AB540) with Napa Valley College stating that they will file the appropriate paperwork to legalize their immigration status as soon as they are eligible. They must also provide the college with a copy of their high school transcript showing three years of enrollment in a California high school, and graduation from a high school in California.