Important: If you are not yet 18, other special rules may apply to you as a minor and you should consult the Office of Undergraduate Admissions for more information.
Note: There is a difference between being a legal resident and being a legal resident for tuition purposes. A legal resident for tuition purposes is a student who has demonstrated that he or she has been a North Carolina legal resident for at least the twelve consecutive months immediately preceding the school term and intends to make North Carolina a permanent home rather than being in North Carolina solely to attend college.
Individuals classified as NC residents for tuition purposes are entitled to pay the in-state tuition rate. If you are classified a resident you are likely to remain classified that way as long as you are continuously enrolled.
But, in some circumstances such as those indicated below, you will need to be classified again.
- If you fail to enroll for one term (spring or fall), and subsequently require re-admission, you will have to fill out a new resident status application.
- If the University becomes aware of new facts about your status, it has the responsibility to ask for a review of your residency classification to determine if your current classification is accurate.
- If you change from one division of UNC-CH to another (for example, when you go from undergraduate school to medical school).
For example, if H and W are married and W has been a North Carolina domiciliary for twelve months but H has only been a domiciliary for one month, H can use W’s duration of domicile to meet the twelve months requirement. The two durations cannot be added together to meet the twelve months requirement so, if W had only been a domiciliary for eleven months, H would still be a month short.
Certain visas and other immigration documents allow you to establish a domicile in the U.S. and thus in North Carolina (A, G, I, K, N, T, U, and V visas; permanent resident alien cards; conditional resident alien cards; and certain documents given to refugees or asylees, for example). Other visas do not allow you to establish domicile (B, C, D, F, J, M, P, Q, S, and TN visas, for example).
Whether you can establish domicile with some visas (E, H, L.O) depends on your individual circumstances. If you have an immigration document that doesn’t allow you to establish domicile and you later get one that does allow you to do so, the time you spent in North Carolina under the old document will not count toward the twelve month requirement.
After you receive a new document, you must establish North Carolina domicile and wait twelve months. If you have applied for permanent resident alien status but it has not yet been granted, you are considered still to have the visa or document that you had before you applied for adjustment of status. This is true even if you have been granted a work permit. The application of U.S. immigration law to tuition residency decisions can be very complicated.
Please consult your admissions office for more information.