For Us Citizens Who Are Not Residents Of California

La Jolla Shores and cliffs

UC San Diego is a state school, so the cost of tuition is considerably lower for California residents than for nonresidents. Thus it is important to take the steps to become classified as a CA resident for your second year of studies. The math department does not provide funding for nonresident supplemental tuition beyond the first year.

Changing your nonresident status is done through the Registrar’s Office at the Student Services Center (Map). You need to complete a petition to change your status and submit copies of 12 documents with it. It is important to note that you need to submit copies of all 12 documents or write an explanation for any missing or late dated documents. Do not submit an incomplete application thinking they won’t notice. They will!

The process of changing your residency status begins a year before you submit your petition. Therefore, as soon as you move to California, get started on putting together those 12 documents. The following link is the official UCSD page describing in detail how to change your status: How to Change Your Nonresident Status to Resident. It also provides a link for the Change of Classification petition.

Here is some information on the documents you need to submit copies of.

  • California driver’s license or a California ID card: You should get this within 10 days of moving to California. To get your California Driver’s license or ID, as well as CA vehicle registration, see the Information For Persons New To California page at the California DMV website. You may want to make an appointment since the wait can be long at some of the DMV offices without an appointment.

    If you already have a driver license in another state, then you won’t need to take a driving test, but you will need to go to a DMV office and take a vision exam, a short written test, and other things listed on the How to Apply for a Driver’s License page. You may want to study the California Driver’s Handbook before taking the test.

    The two closest DMV offices to UCSD are:

    3960 Normal Street
    San Diego, 92103
    (800) 777-0133

    4375 Derrick Drive
    San Diego, 92117
    (800) 777-0133

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    Voter registration card or affidavit from Registrar of Voters: You will want to register to vote in the state of California. When you receive your voter registration card in the mail, hold on to it and make a copy for your application.

    The Voter Registration page found at the County of San Diego website provides info on how to register to vote.

    To summarize you can either i) download the Registration Form from the above link, ii) pick up a Postcard Registration form from the Registrar Of Voters, the City Clerks’ Offices, the DMV, the Post Office, or a Public Library, or iii) have a postcard mailed directly to you by calling the Registrar of Voters Main Office at (858) 565-5800.

  • Bank Statements:​​​​​​

    The point of part (b) is to show that you were in California during the whole summer. If you are missing a statement for any one of the three months they will notice!

    1. Provide a copy of your first month’s statement with a California bank or, if you are not using a California bank, provide a copy of a statement showing when your address was changed to California.
    2. Provide summer statements for the June, July, and August prior to the quarter you are applying to change your classification. If there are names on the account in addition to yours, then you will instead need to provide credit card statements for June, July, and August that are under your name only.

  • California car registration and car insurance card:

    You need to get this within 20 days of moving to California. Get an insurance card with your California address on it and register your car as soon as possible. This probably will include going to the DMV to have them verify the odometer reading and getting a smog test before actually submitting the application and fees. See

    DMV offices are listed above in the California ID section

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    Tax Returns:

    Here’s an area where some grad students have had trouble. You need to provide copies of all federal and state tax returns for the past year, or W2s only if you did not file in any state.

    When filing federal and state tax returns use a California address and file in the following manner: File as a part-year resident for earnings in the state of your prior residence before coming to California.

    File a part-year resident California state tax return for the period of September-December. For tax years thereafter, you’ll be filing full-year resident California returns. Make sure you do not file a full-year resident tax return in another state or a full-year nonresident California state tax return.

  • Evidence of financial independence:

    There are numerous ways to show this, so it’s best to just check the link How to Change Your Nonresident Status to Resident.

  • Paper trail of summer physical presence:

    To verify that you have been in California during the summer preceding your second year, you will need to present summer pay stubs, employment verification, airline tickets, or some paper trail of summer physical presence.

    If you are having trouble obtaining any of these documents, you may want to check with Graduate Program Officer about obtaining some type of verification. If you are leaving the state for a unique research opportunity or for special circumstances (such as a medical emergency), this won’t necessarily preclude you from being classified as a resident, but the burden will be on you to provide convincing evidence that leaving the state was not inconsistent with your claim of permanent residence.

  • Housing Contracts: Provide 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.

  • Membership with California merchants: Provide proof of credit and memberships with CA stores, supermarkets, video clubs, fitness clubs, public library, magazine subscriptions, or religious affiliations. Paragliders

  • Moving receipts: Show proof of your belongings being moved into California such as a moving van bill, U-Haul moving van receipts, etc.

  • Utility Bills: Make sure you have some utility bills in your name, e.g. phone, gas, electric, TV, cable, Internet, water, etc. Submit the first and the latest statements only.

  • Alien Registration Card: Provide a copy of this only if you are a permanent resident through the INS.

To submit your application you can drop it off at the Registrar’s Office or mail it in. Again, the website How to Change Your Nonresident Status to Resident provides information about how to do this. If you have any further questions, you can call the Student Affairs Officer at (858) 534-3152. When leaving a message, repeat your phone number twice.

This is quite a tedious process, but paying nonresident tuition is no fun. So get started on your petition as soon as possible!