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Step 1: Apply for AB540 Status

Apply for AB540 Classification (undergraduate students only)

Under California law AB 540, certain undocumented students may receive a waiver to avoid paying out-of-state fees. 

So, if you are granted AB 540 classification, you will only pay the in-state tuition and fees, and not the supplemental tuition, about $30,000, charged to non-state residents. 

One additional benefit of the AB540 classification includes eligibility for state and university financial aid, which is otherwise not available to undocumented students. 

Are you eligible for AB540 classification?

Undocumented must meet all three requirements below to be eligible:

  1. Time and coursework requirement

Either: 

  • Attendance for three full-time years or the equivalent at any combination of the following:
    • California high school
    • California adult school (including non-credit courses offered by a California community college)
    • California community college (maximum of two years of credit-bearing courses can count toward this requirement)

Or:

  • 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.
  1. Degree or unit requirement

Meet one of the following requirements:

  • Graduation from a California high school (or attainment of the equivalent)
  • Attainment of an associate’s degree from a California community college
  • Fulfillment of the minimum transfer requirements from a California community college to a UC or CSU campus
  1. Sign Nonresident Exemption Request

Submit a signed California Nonresident Exemption Request (AB540 application), which states that you meet all the requirements to qualify for AB 540 status and whether you are undocumented, are in the process of adjusting your immigration status, or will do so as soon as you are eligible.

Who’s not eligible for AB540:

Students in possession of nonimmigrant visas (including, but not limited to any of the following visas: A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, K, L, M, N, O, P, Q, R, S, T*, TN/TD, TWOV, U*, and NATO) are not eligible for AB540. 

*Exceptions for holders of T and U visas

UC policy permits T and U visa holders with approved I-485 applications who meet the requirements described above to be exempt from nonresident supplemental tuition until they are eligible to establish California residency according to UC policy.

DACA recipients who do not meet the AB 540 tuition requirements, listed above, will not be eligible for the exemption.

Steps to apply for AB540 classification

  1. After you have accepted an offer of admission to a UC campus, submit your Statement of Legal Residence to the campus residence deputy.
  2. If you then receive a nonresident classification, the campus residence deputy will ask you to complete the California Nonresident Tuition Exemption Request (AB540 Application) to determine your eligibility for AB 540 classification. Be prepared to prove that you meet the eligibility requirements discussed above.

Once the residency deputy grants you AB540 classification, you will not need to reapply as long as your visa or immigration status does not change, and you are continuously enrolled in the program to which you have been admitted at a UC campus.

Where do I submit my Statement of Legal Residence and my AB 540 application? 

You have three options. 

Email: residencedeputy@ucsd.edu 

Fax: 858-822-3516
Mail to:
UCSD Office of the Registrar
Attn: Residence Deputy
9500 Gilman Dr., MC 0022
La Jolla, CA 92093-0022 

Note! Transfer students who had AB540 classification at their community college must reapply for the classification once accepted to a UC campus. AB540 classification is not transferable from one institution to another. In the same manner, students who are enrolled at a UC campus and take classes at a community college during the summer must apply for AB540 classification with that community college to avoid paying out-of-state fees. 

AB540 is huge!

AB540 classification not only waives the out-of-state fees for undocumented students, it also makes you eligible to request financial aid. 

Undocumented students with AB 540 classification may receive state and UC financial aid through the CA Dream Act Financial Aid application. Without AB540 classification, undocumented students can’t receive financial aid from the state or the university. 

Go on to the next section to learn about the CA Dream Act Financial Aid. 

Questions? Not sure if you are eligible for AB540? Message our Residency Deputy for help.