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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


  • 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)


  • 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 UC San Diego, complete your Statement of Legal Residence form for Residence Deputy review. *Note: Undergraduate students will be required to complete all applicable residency forms in their UCSD Applicant Portal before accepting their offer of admission. 
  2. Your Statement of Legal Residence will be evaluated by a campus residence deputy. If applicable, you will be asked to complete a California Nonresident Tuition Exemption Request (AB540 Affidavit) to determine your eligibility for the AB540 exemption. Be prepared to prove with documentation that you meet the eligibility requirements discussed above. 

If 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? 

Where you will submit your Statement of Legal Residence and AB540 Affidavit depends on your class-level. 

  • Undergraduate Students: Please complete all residency forms assigned to you in your UCSD Applicant Portal. Upload your AB540 Affidavit under the “Upload Materials” section in your portal if applicable. 
  • Graduate Students: Please complete your Statement of Legal Residence in your Applicant Portal and email your AB540 Affidavit to Be sure to include your PID in your correspondence. 
  • For graduate programs that do not have an Applicant Portal, please email your Statement of Legal Residence and AB540 Affidavit to Be sure to include your PID in your correspondence. 
  • Medical and Pharmacy: Please email your Statement of Legal Residence and AB540 Affidavit to Be sure to include your PID in your correspondence. 

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.