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 Committee on 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.
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?
Q: What is domicile?
Q: How long must I be domiciled in
Virginia before I can be considered "in-state"?
Q: May I leave the state
Q: Who can be considered a dependent
Q: Who is considered an independent
Q: What is substantial financial
Q: Who is a legal guardian for
purposes of domiciliary status?
Q: Can I establish "in-state" status
while I am a student?
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?
Q: When may I apply for in-state
Q: Are non-citizens capable of
establishing "in-state" status?
Q: Can the non-military spouse
establish Virginia domicile separate from the domicile of the active
military spouse who is a non-Virginian?
Q: To establish domicile, are active
military persons required to meet the one-year requirement?
Information for Dependents of 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 Committee on Virginia Status at (434) 982-3391.