Because the University of Virginia is a state-supported school, students who are legally domiciled within the Commonwealth enjoy significant privileges in tuition. Students must apply for Virginia status.
This page on Virginia residency consists of two sections: general information for all students and specific information for dependents of military parents. This information has been prepared by the Office of Virginia Status, which may be reached by telephone at (434) 982-3391, by fax at (434) 982-2663, and by mail at P.O. Box 400160, Charlottesville, VA 22904.
To help prospective students sort through the complexities of establishing Virginia domicile to qualify for in-state educational privileges, the Committee on Virginia Status has provided the following general descriptive information. This material is not all inclusive; you may need to inquire about your specific circumstances with the Committee. Nothing in this publication is intended to amend existing law or policy with respect to eligibility for in-state status.
Q: What rules and procedures govern who is considered an “in-state” student?
A: Section 23-7.4 of the Code of Virginia and its attendant guidelines outline the requirements that you must meet to be classified as “in-state” for educational purposes.
Q: What is domicile?
A: “Domicile” is the present, fixed home of an individual to which one returns following temporary absences and at which one intends to remain indefinitely. The domicile of a dependent or a minor is presumed to be that of the parent(s).
Q: How long must I be domiciled in Virginia before I can be considered “in-state”?
A: A student, parent(s) or spouse must be domiciled in Virginia for at least twelve continuous months immediately preceding the first day of classes. This means the student parent(s) or spouse must actually reside in Virginia during this period while simultaneously demonstrating their intent to be domiciled in Virginia. Intent is demonstrated by, among other things, paying resident taxes to Virginia, obtaining a Virginia driver’s license, car & voter registrations.
Q: May I leave the state temporarily?
A: Once you have established domicile in Virginia, you may be absent from the State provided you 1) continue to file resident Virginia income tax returns (Form 760) each year you are out of the State, declaring ALL earned income regardless of source; and, 2) do nothing incompatible with your claim of domicile, such as registering to vote in another state.
Q: Who can be considered a dependent student?
A: Any student who is listed as a dependent on tax returns of parents or legal guardians or who receives substantial financial support from them. A married student whose spouse provides substantial financial support also can be a dependent student.
Q: Who is considered an independent student?
A: Any student past the age of majority whose parents have surrendered the right to care, custody and support and have not claimed the student as a dependent on federal and state income tax returns for at least twelve months prior to the date of alleged entitlement.
Q: What is substantial financial support?
A: “Substantial financial support” means more than 50%.
Q: Who is a legal guardian for purposes of domiciliary status?
A: A legal guardian is someone with personal or financial responsibility for a minor and who has been appointed by a court. NOTE: You must provide verification of the court appointment, that the appointment was not for in-state tuition purposes and that the parents do not contribute to student’s support.
Q: Can I establish “in-state” status while I am a student?
A: If you are a dependent and your parent(s) or spouse moves to Virginia while you are in school and fulfills the requirements of domicile, you should petition for a change of status effective 12 months after the move. If you entered classified as an out-of-state student, you must present clear and convincing evidence to rebut the presumption that you are residing in the State primarily to attend school. Residence or physical presence in Virginia primarily to attend the University does not entitle you to in-state tuition rates.
Q: If my parents are divorced am I eligible for in-state educational privileges if I live outside of Virginia and my non-custodial parent lives in Virginia?
A: Yes, if the non-custodial parent contributes substantially to your support and is domiciled in Virginia.
Q: When may I apply for in-state status?
A: Applications must be submitted with the application for admission, or in the case of a currently enrolled student, at least 30 days prior to the term for which in-state privileges are sought.
Q: Are non-citizens capable of establishing “in-state” status?
A: Non-United States citizens are legally capable of establishing domicile when they have been granted the status of lawful permanent residents by the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service, or if they possess a visa in an eligible category. Just like citizens who claim eligibility for in-state status the burden is on the student or parent to present clear and convincing evidence of domicile in Virginia for the requisite one-year period prior to matriculation.
Q: Can the non-military spouse establish Virginia domicile separate from the domicile of the active military spouse who is a non-Virginian?
A: Yes, but the non-military spouse must meet the same domicile requirements as any new resident to the State.
Q: To establish domicile, are active military persons required to meet the one-year requirement?
A: No. The one-year requirement is waived for military personnel who elect to establish Virginia domicile, but all other elements of domicile must be fulfilled simultaneously; i.e. physical residence, demonstration of domiciliary intent and reflection of Virginia income taxes on your LES.
Students with Military Parents
Section 23-7.4 of the Code of Virginia governs eligibility for in-state educational privileges. The following information briefly describes the ways in which dependents of military parents may qualify for in-state educational privileges; it is not intended as an exhaustive analysis of the complex statutory provisions affecting such applicants.
In-state residency classifications can be made only upon receipt of an Application for Virginia In-State Educational Privileges and any requested supporting documentation. Applications must be submitted with the application for admission or, in the case of a currently enrolled student, at least thirty days prior to the term for which in-state privileges are sought. Specific questions should be addressed to the Committee on Virginia Status.
A dependent student, defined in the statute as one who is claimed as a dependent by parents or legal guardians for income tax purposes or who receives substantial financial support from them, is presumed to have the same domicile as his or her parents. If both parents are domiciliaries of a state other than Virginia, the student is considered to be a non-Virginian, even though the family may be residing in Virginia. If the parents are domiciliaries of separate states, the student may choose the parent through whom he or she wishes to obtain his or her domiciliary status. Under Section 23-7.4, domicile is a technical, legal concept that refers to the present, fixed, home of an individual to which he or she returns following temporary absences and at which he or she intends to remain indefinitely – one’s permanent and lasting home.
In order for a non-military parent to demonstrate Virginia domiciliary status for purposes of in-state educational privileges two acts must occur simultaneously for a continuous twelve month period: physical residence in the State and the formation of the intent to remain indefinitely (domiciliary intent.) Domiciliary intent is evidenced by the filing of Virginia income tax returns, possession of a Virginia driver’s license and motor vehicle registration, and other objective factors.
An active duty military parent may become a Virginia domiciliary if, while residing in Virginia, he or she adopts Virginia as his or her legal domicile. This is accomplished by filing a new State of Legal Residence Certificate declaring Virginia as one’s domicile for income tax purposes and fulfilling the domiciliary intent requirements as discussed above. It is not possible to retroactively establish a Virginia domicile merely by filing a Virginia income tax return in April for the prior year and it is not possible to establish domicile from afar. There must be physical presence in Virginia simultaneous with the demonstration of domiciliary intent. However, the one year requirement is waived for active duty military personnel who fulfill all other conditions for establishing domicile.
Once Virginia domicile has been established, it is not forfeited by absences from the Commonwealth occasioned by changes in military orders. Provided that the military member continues to claim Virginia as his or her state of legal residence for tax purposes and refrains from acts inconsistent with a claim of Virginia domicile (such as voting in another state), he or she continues to be domiciled in Virginia, and is entitled to all of the privileges accorded Virginia domiciliaries.
A student claiming entitlement to in-state privileges through the military parent’s status as a Virginia domiciliary must submit with the application a copy of the parent’s Leave and Earnings Statement and other documents as requested.
The dependent child of a military parent or non-military spouse who is domiciled in Virginia is clearly entitled to in-state educational privileges. The dependent child of a military person and a non-military spouse who are not domiciled in Virginia may nevertheless qualify for in-state privileges through the military exception provision. Pursuant to Section 23-7.4:2, in-state educational privileges may be granted to the child of a military parent stationed and residing in Virginia if, for at least one year immediately prior to the date of intended enrollment, the non-military parent has resided in Virginia, been employed full-time and claimed the student as a dependent on federal and resident Virginia income tax returns. At the present time, full-time employment is defined as an annual earned income of at least $10,300. Entitlement under this provision continues only so long as the requirements continue to be met. Under this provision the non-military parent is not required to demonstrate his or her intent to be domiciled in Virginia.
A student applying for in-state privileges through the military exception provision must submit documentation of the non-military parent’s employment in Virginia and payment of Virginia income taxes.
All questions or inquiries regarding Virginia domiciliary classifications should be directed to the Office of Virginia Status at (434) 982-3391.