A North Carolina “resident for tuition purposes” is a person, or a dependent person (dependent according to IRS tax code) whose parent or legal guardian has established and maintained legal residence in North Carolina for at least 12 months. Residence in North Carolina must be legitimate and be a permanent situation rather than just for the purpose of maintaining a residence prior to enrollment at an institution of higher education.

Other persons not meeting the 12 month legal residence requirement may be classified as North Carolina residents for tuition purposes only if they fall within one of the limited categories authorized by the North Carolina Legislature. All other persons are ineligible for classification as a North Carolina “resident for tuition purposes” and will be charged non-resident tuition.

To qualify as a North Carolina resident for tuition purposes, you must be a US citizen, permanent resident alien or a legal alien granted indefinite stay by the Immigration and Naturalization Service. Living in or attending school in North Carolina will not, in itself, establish legal residence. Students who depend on out-of-state parents for support are presumed to be legal residents of the same state as their parents.


  • Dependent: A person for whom 50 percent or more of his/her support is provided by another as defined by the Internal Revenue Service. A copy of your (or parent’s) most recent tax return or other documentation may be requested to establish dependence/independence.
  • Independent: A person who provides more than 50 percent of his/her own support.
  • Legal Basis: An individual shall not be classified as a resident for tuition purposes and, thus, shall not be eligible to receive the in-state tuition rate until he/she has provided such evidence related to legal residence and its duration as may be required by officials of the institution of higher education from which he seeks the in-state tuition rate.

Supporting Documentation

This is a partial listing of documents that may support your petition for residency classification. Based on the documentation, the Registrar will make a determination of residency status. Check documents by appropriate category and attach copies.

  • Home Ownership documents: Examples: deed, mortgages and real estate tax records.
  • Legal Domicile statement: Notarized by a certified Notary Public.
  • Twelve Month Requirement: Show any documents that support a claim of legal residence for at least 12 months prior to the start of the academic term for which reclassification is requested.
  • Permanent Employment: Show employment contract, pay slips or letter from the employer to prove that you were employed in North Carolina on a full-time basis.
  • Voter Registration: A voter registration card from a North Carolina county.
  • Driver’s License: A North Carolina vehicle operator’s permit with a North Carolina address (“North Carolina Only”, issued to nonresidents is not appropriate).
  • Vehicle Registration: North Carolina vehicle title or registration.
  • Proof of Dependency: If student is being claimed on a parent’s residency, show that you are related. Show dependency with tax records. If adopted, show court orders.
  • Parent’s Residency: If student claims residency based on parents, show that one parent is a legal resident and not just a periodic visitor. Show parent’s residence for 12 months.
  • Professional/Occupational License: Show that you are authorized to perform professional or business services in North Carolina
  • Family Ties: If residency claim is based on relatives, show relationship. Document that the relative has been a North Carolina resident for 12 preceding months. Show the length of time that student has lived with the relative.
  • Marriage: If residency status is related to marriage to North Carolina resident, show marriage license and prove that the spouse has been a North Carolina resident for 12 months.
  • Active Duty Military: Show military orders and/or identification cards (green) of military member stationed in North Carolina and/or military dependents (exempt category).
  • Law Enforcement: Show full-time employment with State, county or city agency, and job-related status for law enforcement or corrections training.
  • Independent Status: Documentary evidence that the student is emancipated from parents financial support and is indeed an independent person. Such students then must meet North Carolina residency and duration requirements.
  • Other: Show any other documents or circumstances explained that is relevant to determining this residency reclassification petition.
  • These documents must reflect residency of 12 months prior to the academic semester in which you are requesting in-state residency.

There is no certain number of documents required. The evidence must be clear and convincing and adequate for the Registrar to make a professional judgment in the case.

If you are denied in-state residency you may apply for an appeal.