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Establishing Texas Residency

Under Texas state law, an applicant or enrolled student is classified either as a resident of Texas, a nonresident, or a foreign student. Residency for admission and tuition purposes at a public college or university in Texas is different from residency for voting or taxing purposes.

To qualify as a Texas resident, an individual must 1) reside in Texas for one year prior to enrollment and 2) establish a domicile in Texas prior to enrollment . An applicant or student who is claimed as a dependent on a parent's most recent federal tax return will be classified based on the parent's qualifications for residency.

International students eligible to establish legal domicile in Texas may also qualify for Texas resident status; see the Residency FAQ for details.

An individual's residency classification is based on information from his or her admission application. If an applicant or student is classified as a nonresident and wishes to be reclassified as a resident, it is necessary to submit the Core Residency Questions .

Complete tuition/admission residency regulations for the State of Texas can be found at the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board Web Site.

Rules and Regulations for determining residence status are set by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board. THECB residency information can be found at CollegeforTexans.com.

Residency FAQ

Q. How do I establish residency?
A. One must be an independent (not claimed as a dependent for income tax purposes), US citizen or permanent resident, (have a green card, also known as card I-551 or the evidence of I-551 stamp in the passport) or international student who is eligible to establish a domicile in Texas and live in the state of Texas for 12 consecutive months and establish a domicile in Texas prior to enrollment.

Q. My parents are claiming me as a dependent for tax purposes. How do I establish residency or how do they establish residency?
A. If your parents are Texas residents and reside in the state of Texas and are claiming you as a dependent on their income tax return or are eligible to claim you as a dependent, then your residency will be Texas once your parents have met the residency requirements.

Q. How do I establish a domicile in Texas?
A. A domicile in Texas is presumed if, at least 12 months prior to the census date of the semester in which he or she is to enroll, at least one of the following applies: 1) the person owns real property in Texas, 2) the person owns a business in Texas, 3) the person is married to someone who has established a domicile in Texas, 4) the person has had gainful employment other than work-study and other such student employment in Texas.

Q. If I am temporarily absent from Texas, will I lose my status as a Texas resident?
A. The temporary absence of a person or a dependent’s parent from the state for the purpose of service in the U.S. Armed Forces, Public Health Service, Department of Defense, U.S. Department of State, as a result of an employment assignment, or for educational purposes, shall not affect a person’s ability to continue to claim that he or she is a domiciliary of this state. The person or the dependent’s parent shall provide documentation of the reason for the temporary absence.

Q. What do I need to do, or what documents do I need to fill out when I apply for Residency?
A. A prospective student must have an admission application on file before submitting the Residency Core Questions or the Residency Affidavit. Currently enrolled students may submit the Residency Core Questions once they or their parents have lived here for 11 consecutive months.

Q. My parents live in a state other than Texas and they are claiming me as a dependent on taxes, can I establish residency?
A. If your parents claim you and they live in another state, you are not eligible to establish residency while being claimed as a dependent. Students over the age of 18 whose parents do not claim them as a dependent on their tax return can establish residency as an independent student (see first FAQ question for information on how to establish residency).

Q. I am an international student and I want to know how I can establish residency?
A. The following international students are eligible to establish a domicile in Texas under the law and can obtain Texas residency if they meet the basic residency requirements as listed in the first question on this list:

  • Parolee, holder of asylum status or refugee
  • A student who has applied for adjustment of status to permanent residency (must have received an I-485 notice of action for the green card application)
  • Holder of a visa that is eligible to domicile in the US. 
  • High school graduation in Texas after 36 months of residence in the state (see next FAQ).

Q. I am an international student who has attended a Texas high school for three consecutive years. Can I qualify for Texas residency?
A. International students who meet all of the following requirements will qualify for Texas residency regardless of INS status:

  • Graduate from a Texas High school or receive a GED.
  • Reside in Texas for the 36 months immediately preceding graduation from a Texas high school or receipt of the GED.
  • Reside in Texas the 12 months preceding the census date of the academic semester in which the person enrolls in an institution of higher education.
  • Sign an affidavit stating that you meet the above qualifications and will apply for permanent residency upon first availability to do so.

Q. I am currently enrolled at a Texas college or university and am classified as a Texas resident. Will my residency status transfer to UT Tyler?
A. A person who was enrolled in a Texas institution of higher education for any part of the academic year prior to enrollment at UT Tyler, and who was classified as a resident of Texas during that year, will be classified as a Texas resident. You may be required to verify your residency classification at the previous institution.

Q. I live in a state other than Texas and I am marrying a Texas resident. Does marriage to a Texas resident make me a Texas resident?
A. Marriage to a Texas resident does not give that person immediate residency. A U.S. Citizen Permanent Resident or international student with an immigration status that allows them to domicile in the U.S. who is the spouse of a Texas resident must live in the state of Texas for 12 consecutive months. The spouse is allowed to attend school during the 12 months if he or she chooses but will pay out of state tuition for the first 12 months. After 1 year, if there is enough evidence to indicate that the individual has otherwise made Texas their permanent residence they may apply for reclassification.

Q. I received Resident status some time after classes started. Will I get a refund for the out-of-state portion fee bill that I have previously paid?
A. The Residency Core Questions must be submitted by the census date of the relevant term in order for a Texas resident classification to be effective for that current semester.

Q. I couldn't find an answer to my question in this FAQ list. Who can I contact for more information?
A. For more information, contact the Admissions Office at 1-800-UT TYLER.

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