AB 540 nonresident tuition exemption

Under California law AB 540, certain nonresident students are exempt from paying nonresident supplemental tuition.

If you're granted an AB 540 exemption, you will be charged in-state tuition and fees, and not the supplemental tuition charged to nonresidents.

Who is eligible?

Students (including undocumented students) who, for various reasons, are classified as nonresidents may be eligible

You must meet all of the following requirements to be eligible:

  • Attend a California high school for three* or more years (9th grade counts)
  • Graduate (or will graduate) from a high school in California or the equivalent (a High School Equivalency Certificate issued by the California State GED Office or a Certificate of Proficiency resulting from the California High School Proficiency Examination are considered equivalent to high school graduation).
  • You also must have signed the California Nonresident Exemption Request, which states that you meet all the requirements to qualify for AB 540 status and, if you are undocumented, are in the process of adjusting your immigration status (or will do so as soon as you are eligible).

*As of January 1, 2015, you may be eligible for AB 540 if you are a UC nonresident student who has successfully completed three years of high school academic credit in fewer than three years, provided you can document having been enrolled in school in California for at least three academic years during K-12 enrollment.

Who's not eligible:

  • 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 this exemption.
    • *Except 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 students who do not meet the AB 540 tuition requirements, listed above, will not be eligible for the exemption.

How to apply

  • 2. If you then receive a nonresident classification, the campus residence deputy may provide additional forms for you to complete to determine your eligibility for the AB 540 nonresident tuition exemption. Be prepared to provide official California school transcripts and proof of high school graduation.

Once UC grants you the exemption, you won't need to reapply as long as your visa status doesn't change and you're continuously enrolled in the program to which you've been admitted at a UC campus.

Myth or fact?

If you qualify for the AB 540 nonresident tuition exemption, you'll be considered a California resident for the purposes of tuition and fees.


Fact: UC will not classify you as a CA resident, but rather, will waive your nonresident tuition. You will still be considered a nonresident student.

Still have questions about AB 540?

Visit our policy website or contact a UC campus representative: