Admissions and Immigration FAQ

UC Admissions FAQ

Can an applicant skip questions on UC's online application for undergraduate admission if the applicant is unsure how to answer?

All students, including undocumented applicants, must provide a response to the following questions to have their application processed:

  • Applicant level at time of enrollment (freshman, junior transfer, etc.)
  • Full legal name
  • Country of citizenship: The response option "No selection" is considered a response and is the recommended choice for undocumented applicants. The "No selection" response will avoid the applicant's being asked other questions about permanent residency and visa status that are not applicable to undocumented applicants. "No selection" will also prevent future follow-up for a missing Social Security number.
  • Academic history (record of schools, courses and grades)
  • Personal statement
  • Electronic Signature

The online application will prompt immediately if any of these items are incomplete and will prevent further progress until a response is made.

How should an undocumented student respond to the question about an applicant's Social Security number?

All applicants are required to disclose their Social Security number if they have one. If an applicant does not have a Social Security number, he/she may skip that item.

What about other questions on the online application? If a student fails to answer them, will the application for admission still be considered?

The university seeks to obtain complete information from all applicants. Although the online application will be processed without responses to other questions on the UC application, undocumented applicants should respond when possible.

How does an undocumented student establish bona fide California residency for admissions purposes?

Being classified as a bona fide California resident for admissions purposes allows the applicant to be considered for admission using a lower minimum GPA than is applied to non-residents. To determine if the applicant will be considered a bona fide California resident for admissions purposes, the applicant should respond to the following questions:

  • When did you move to California?
  • If you are under 18, does your parent or legal guardian live in California?
  • Is the school that you currently attend (or most recently attended) in California?
  • Have you attended a California high school for two or more years?
  • Is your parent, legal guardian, or spouse a UC employee at a location outside California (e.g., Washington, D.C.; Los Alamos, New Mexico; London; Mexico City; other)?

An applicant is considered a bona fide California resident for admissions purposes if the student indicated in response to the first question above that s/he has lived in California for at least 12 months, or answers "yes" to any one of the remaining questions listed above.

How does an undocumented applicant/student establish California residency for UC tuition and fee purposes?

Under current law, undocumented applicants/students cannot establish California residency for UC tuition and fee purposes regardless of their eligibility for bona fide California residency for admissions purposes. However, any UC student who:

  • is not in possession of a non-immigrant visa to the United States, and
  • has attended a California high school for at least three years, and
  • has graduated from a California high school, and
  • signs an affidavit agreeing to seek legal status as soon as she or he is able to do so may be eligible for a Nonresident Supplemental Tuition Exemption (commonly known as an AB 540 tuition exemption after the authorizing California law). This exemption enables eligible students to enroll at UC without paying UC's Nonresident Supplemental Tuition. Applications to determine eligibility for AB 540 tuition exemptions status must be submitted after a student has been admitted to UC.

Immigration FAQ

I am a non-immigrant with a currently valid visa (for example, a student or tourist visa). Do I qualify for in-state tuition?

You do not qualify for in-state tuition under the law (AB 540). However, you may qualify for in-state tuition as a "resident" if your nonimmigrant status allows you to "establish domicile" in the U.S. and you satisfy other requirements for residency. For example, persons with "V" or "K" visas, and citizens of Micronesia or the Marshall Islands should be able to pay in-state tuition if they have lived in the state for more than one year.

How do I apply for a social security card? Do AB 540 students qualify for a social security card?

To obtain a social security card, you must be a U.S. citizen, Lawful Permanent Resident, or have been lawfully admitted to the U.S. You must complete an application, and prove your age, identity and lawful status. There is no charge for a social security card. For more information, go to or call, toll-free, 1-800-772-1213. This information is also available in Spanish at or call, toll-free 1-800-772-1213.

My parents use a number for their tax returns. Is this a social security number?

Your parents probably have an Individual Tax Identification Number (ITIN). This number is issued by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to persons who are not eligible for a social security number. It does not provide you with the employment authorization and does not grant you any immigration status. To apply for an ITIN, you must file a Form W-7 or W-7SP (in Spanish) with the IRS.

How do AB 540 students obtain a California driver's license?

Under AB 60, eligible AB 540 and undocumented students are able to receive a California driver's license. Every applicant will need documents to prove 1) his or her identity and 2) residency in the State of California. The Mexican Consular ID and the Mexican passport will be accepted as primary identification. The DMV will also accept specific consular IDs together with valid passports. For those who do not have other forms of identification, the DMV will accept documents related to a child or other family member, along with proof of the relationship. Gather and update your documents, such as a consular ID or passport, utility bill or lease agreement. If your documents have expired, you should visit your consulate to renew them as this process can take some time. Please visit for the full list of documents accepted.

How do I select an immigration lawyer? What do AB 540 students must keep in mind when selecting an immigration attorney?

There are a number of guidelines for selecting an immigration attorney that you must take into account. Remember that some agencies that administer information for immigration help and advice have no responsibility or liability for information they provide because they are usually not adequately trained in immigration law. On the other hand, immigration lawyers do because they keep up with the latest updates of the law. Because individual cases differ dramatically, consulting with an immigration attorney can assure you that your immigration matters will be handled in the best possible way. Immigration attorneys can help you overcome and avoid legal issues, and simplify the immigration process as much as possible. The following are suggestions to consider but are not sufficient for choosing an immigration Attorney:

  1. Visit the California Bar website at to verify whether the individual is licensed within California and whether disciplinary proceedings have been brought against him or her
    1. Scroll down on the left and click on legal specialist
    2. Click on "specialist search" on the next page
    3. Type in county or counties (Yolo, Sacramento, Solano, etc) and "immigration law"