Frequently Asked Questions
Information for All Students
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: How do I know if I am a legal resident of Virginia?
A: The laws governing domiciliary status - that is, whether a person is considered a legal resident of Virginia - are set by the state legislature. If students wish to be considered legal residents for the purposes of admission and tuition, they must apply for Virginia status by completing the Application for Virginia In-State Educational Privileges, which is a part of our application for admission. For more information, please read About Virginia Domicile.
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: The Application for In-State Privileges is part of the U.Va. Supplement to the Common App. See the application timetable for first-year and transfer applicant deadlines. In the case of a currently enrolled student, the application is due 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.
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.