Apply for Arizona residency
Read about the requirements and information regarding the application for Arizona state residency.
Arizona residency information
Students who are classified as non-resident by the Admissions Office must petition for a review of residency. The office you can contact depends on your status:
New incoming and transfer undergraduate students
Continuing undergraduate students
The Arizona Board of Regents guidelines require clear and convincing evidence of residency for tuition purposes.
Each petition is individually reviewed. Not all circumstances can be addressed in this brief summary, so if you wish to discuss your individual case, contact the the appropriate office.
Arizona institutions of higher education are funded by the State of Arizona. Since non-resident students (and their families) generally have not contributed to the source of this funding of public education in Arizona, they are required to pay fees that more closely represent the actual cost of their education.
The rules and regulations for establishing residency for tuition purposes are defined by the Arizona Board of Regents, according to state statutes (A.R.S., 15-1801 through 1807). You can view the policy online at the Arizona Board of Regents website.
An individual must establish residency in Arizona before he or she is eligible to pay resident tuition rates. The requirements to establish residency for tuition purposes are independent from those of other types of residency, such as voting or holding public office.
Independent student residency criteria
You must couple twelve months of physical presence in Arizona with financial independence and objective evidence of intent to make Arizona your permanent home.
All of the evidence is weighed under the presumption that a non-resident student's presence in Arizona is primarily for the purpose of education and not to establish domicile, and that decisions of an individual as to the intent to establish domicile are generally made after the completion of an education and not before.
The following three criteria must all be met:
1. Physical presence (12 Months)
To be eligible for classification as a resident for tuition purposes, you must provide clear and convincing evidence of continuous physical presence in the state of Arizona for the 12 months prior to the term in question. The 12 month period is referred to as a domicile year. You must be at least 18 at the beginning of the domicile year.
2. Intent to establish a domicile (12 months)
Your evidence of intent to be a resident of this state is demonstrated by the absence of ties to your former state of residence. Actions used to indicate intent must be accomplished at the beginning of the domicile year, and be maintained throughout the year.
If these steps are delayed, the start of your one year domicile period will also be delayed accordingly. All requirements must be demonstrated for one full year before resident status may be granted.
Samples of indicia are:
- Arizona driver's license general information
- Arizona motor vehicle registration
- employment history
- transfer of major banking services to Arizona
- eligible immigration (visa) status if you are a non-citizen.
- Arizona voter's registration (Voter Registration Request Form)
- change in permanent address on all pertinent records
- filing of Arizona state income taxes
- additional documents, as requested
- Visa holders will need an I - 485 receipt dated on or before the beginning of the domicile year
- Some visa types are not eligible to petition for residency. See the full list of visa eligibility.
3. Financial independence (24 months)
You need to be self-supporting (financially independent) and not claimed as a dependent by your parents or anyone else for two tax years. Financial independence means that you met your own expenses (minimum of $8,000 plus tuition per year) from self generated funds under your control.
Generally, a student is considered dependent on parents while in high school regardless of how taxes are filed. Personal loans, PLUS loans, gifts, and cash earnings are not acceptable. Auto and health insurance policies must be separate from parents' policy. Typical documentation to be considered should include:
- financial aid
- documented inheritance
- Veteran's or Social Security Benefits
- Trust Funds (established prior to high school)
- accident/insurance settlements
- Federal/Arizona State Income Tax
Exceptions to the twelve month residency rule
All of these exceptions must be verified through the Office of the Registrar. You may be eligible for resident status without waiting twelve months, if one of the following applies on or before the last day of regular registration.
If you are a dependent of parents who are permanently domiciled in Arizona, you may possibly qualify for reclassification without waiting 12 months. Both parents (unless divorced) must claim Arizona as their legal and permanent domicile.
Students who are over 18 years of age when the semester begins must be claimed as a dependent for the most recent tax year. For students under 18 years, the domicile of the parent with legal custody will determine residency.
If you are domiciled in Arizona and are an employee or spouse of an employee transferred to Arizona by his/her employer for employment purposes, you may possibly qualify for reclassification without waiting 12 months. This exception does not apply in the following situations:
- new hire
- family owned/operated business
- recruited by an Arizona employer
- employee-initiated transfer
This Company Transfer provision exempts the qualifying applicant from the 12 months physical presence requirement, but not the intent to make Arizona your permanent home, and the two years financial independence requirements.
If financial independence is in question, the applicant will be asked to document two years of tax independence. In addition, the employee transferred needs to be a continuous, full-time, benefit-eligible employee of same company.
If you do not live in Arizona, but are a member of the US Armed Forces stationed in Arizona pursuant to active duty military orders, including AZ National Guard and Reserves, or you are a member's spouse or dependent child as defined in ARS Section 43-1001, you may qualify for reclassification without waiting twelve months.
As a full-time student, you do not lose resident status while in continuous attendance towards the degree for which currently enrolled, if military service is discontinued. In addition, if you are domiciled in Arizona immediately prior to becoming a member of the US Armed Forces, you will not necessarily lose resident status because of your absence while a member of the US Armed Forces.
However, Arizona law requires filing state income taxes while on active duty military to retain eligibility for resident status upon your return. For honorably discharged military personnel, please contact:
Military and Veterans Student Center
Married to an Arizona Resident
The person's spouse has established domicile in this state for at least one year and has demonstrated intent and financial independence. Furthermore, the individual is entitled to claim the student as an exemption for state and federal tax purposes, but maintained a domicile in this state.
If the person is a non-citizen, the person must be in an eligible visa status pursuant to federal law to classify as an in-state student for tuition purposes. Contact the Office of the Registrar for further assistance.
If you are not domiciled in Arizona, but are a member and resident of a Native American tribe whose reservation land lies partially in Arizona and another state, you may qualify for reclassification without waiting 12 months.
For more information on Native American tribes that are eligible for reduced tuition, please review our Financing your education information.
Teachers under contract / full-time non-certified classroom aides
If you are employed by an Arizona school district and either on contract to teach full-time or are a full-time non-certified classroom aide, you may be eligible to pay resident tuition for courses required for certification.
Select and complete one of the forms below based on your current dependent status, and follow the instructions on the form. Change to Residency Status Forms are for students only.
First day to submit residency petitions - Monday, July 6, 2015
Last day to submit residency petitions - Friday, September 11, 2015
Last day to file residency reclassification appeal (if residency petition was denied) - Friday, October 9, 2015
|Arizona Residency Affidavit (Fall 2015)
Designated for students financially dependent on parents whose residency is in Arizona.
|Change Residency Status Petition (Fall 2015)
Designated for independent students.
|Military Petition to change Residency Status (Fall 2015)
Designated for members of the Armed Forces of the United States
|Non-Resident Teacher Waiver (Fall 2015)
|Spouse is a resident of Arizona (Fall 2015)
Designated for students who have married an Arizona resident.
|Company Transfer - Residency Affidavit (Fall 2015)
Designated for students whose spouse/parents have been recently transferred to Arizona by their employer. To be considered a transferred employee, the individual must be employed full-time, benefit eligible, and be transferred to this state for employment purposes. The normal one-year requirement for residency can be waived.