Will going to school in california make me a resident of california?

I am a resident of North Carolina, but I am going to grad school in California and I plan on bringing my car. 1) Will I have to become a citizen of California in order to register my car? 2) Will I be able to become a citizen of California solely by virtue of attending graduate school there?

ANSWER PERSON RESPONDS: Are you just worried about being identified as a Californian? “Citizen” refers to nationality, not the specific place you live within the country. Where you live is “residency,” and whether you’re a resident or not depends on which state agency is involved. The basic rule is that the agency will want you as a resident if they can get more money from you that way, or as a non-resident if they can get more money from you that way.

If you get a driver’s license, bank account, change your car registration, register to vote, etc., you’re on your way to becoming a resident. I guess you are one to the election commission and the DMV. Some students in California will illegally continue to register their cars out-of-state, like at their parents’ address, to benefit from cheaper fees or less-stringent pollution inspection, and I suppose that could get you in trouble. The answer to your question (1) is that you just have to get an address to register your car. See this page at the CA DMV: http://www.dmv.ca.gov/pubs/brochures/howto/htvr9.htm

But to get in-state tuition at a state university, there are much more stringent residency requirements, so you’ll need to check with the specific school. You need to show that you plan on making California your permanent home, and it generally takes at least year of good intentions. It doesn’t count to just be a student, despite licenses and registrations, and leaving for the summer will kill your chances. So, the answer to your question (2) is No. Please read closely this Berkeley web site: http://registrar.berkeley.edu/Residency/legalinfo.html