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Residence Rules for Minors/ Guardians

Learn about the rules for residence as they apply to minors and their guardians.

General rules applying to minors:

  • If you are an unmarried minor (under age 18), the residence of the parent(s) with whom you live is considered to be your residence. If you have a living parent, you cannot change your residence by your own act, by the appointment of a legal guardian, or by the relinquishment of your parent's right of control.
  • If you lived with neither parent, your residence is that of the parent with whom you last lived. Unless you are a minor alien present in the U.S. under the terms of a nonimmigrant visa which precludes you from establishing domicile in the U.S., you may establish your own residence when your parents are deceased and a legal guardian has not been appointed. If you derive California residence from a parent, that parent must satisfy the one-year duration residence requirement.

Specific rules applying to minors:

  • Divorced/ separated parents: You may be able to derive California residence status from a California resident parent if you move to California to live with that parent on or before your 18th birthday. If you begin residing with your California parent after your 18th birthday, you will be treated like any other adult student coming to California to establish residence.
  • Parent of minor moves from California: You may be entitled to resident status if you are a minor U.S. citizen or eligible alien whose parent(s) was a resident of California who left the state within one year of the residence determination date if:
    • You remained in California after your parent(s) departed
    • You enroll in a California public postsecondary institution within one year of the departure of your parent(s) and
    • Once enrolled, you maintain continuous attendance in that institution. Financial independence will not be required in this case.
  • Two-year care and control: You may be entitled to resident status if you are a U.S. citizen or eligible alien and you have lived continuously with an adult who is not your parent for at least two years prior to the residence determination date. The adult with whom you are living must have been responsible for your care and control for the entire two-year period and must have been residing in California during the one year immediately preceding the residence determination date.
  • Self-supporting minor: If you are a minor (under the age of 18 by the residence determination date) who is entirely self-supporting and have lived in California for more than one year immediately prior to the residence determination, you may be eligible for classification as a resident for tuition purposes.