Residency Requirements for In-State Tuition

To qualify for in-state tuition rates, students must fulfill the residency requirements as outlined by the Office of the Registrar here

Students awarded financial support through a Graduate Assistantship automatically pay in-state tuition rates for the first year of the assistantship. However, they must apply for residency status to pay in-state tuition rates after the first year. It is always the student’s responsibility to initiate the petition for residency. 

Below is information about applying for residency according to NMSU guidelines. To become a legal resident of New Mexico for tuition purposes, four basic requirements must be completed. Each person must meet the requirements individually:

(1) The Twelve Month Consecutive Presence Requirement

A person must physically reside in the state for 12 consecutive months immediately preceding the term for which the resident classification is requested. A student cannot begin to complete the twelve month requirement until his/her 18th birthday.

(2) The Financial Independence Requirement

Only persons who are financially independent may establish residency apart from parents or guardians regardless of age. A student who is financially dependent upon his/her parents or legal guardians who are nonresidents of New Mexico cannot be approved for residency. Dependency will be determined according to the 1954 Internal Revenue Service Code, Section 152, and is always based on the previous tax year for residency purposes. If under the age of 23 at the time the student applies for residency, a copy of his/her parents’ or guardians’ 1040 or 1040A U.S. income tax form from the previous tax year is required. If the student is shown to be a dependent on this tax form, he/she will not be considered financially independent or eligible for residency during the current year.

(3) The Written Declaration of Intent Requirement

The student must sign a written declaration of intent to relinquish residency in any other state and to establish it in New Mexico.  

(4) The Overt Acts Requirement

New Mexico requires the completion of several overt acts that support the student’s written declaration of intent to become a permanent resident. Such acts include:

    • Securing a New Mexico driver’s license 
    • Securing a New Mexico automobile registration 
    • Registering to vote in New Mexico
    • Filing a New Mexico state tax return for the previous year
    • Securing employment in the state 
    • Purchasing residential or business property in the state 
    • Having a long-established bank account

Other relevant factors may be considered along with those itemized above. Note that any act considered inconsistent with being a New Mexico resident– such as voting, securing and/or maintaining a driver’s license and automobile registration in another state, etc.– will cause the petition to be denied.