Residency Frequently Asked Questions


In-State and Out-of-State Residency

  1. When is a student’s residency status determined?
  2. What do I have to do to become an Illinois resident for tuition purposes?
  3. How important is registering to vote, getting a driver’s license/or an Illinois identification card,
    and establishing an Illinois bank account?
  4. Can my parents claim me in another state while I’m establishing residency? Do I have to file
    Illinois income taxes?
  5. If my parents move to Illinois, when can I become a resident?
  6. What if my parents are divorced?
  7. What if my parents move outside of Illinois?
  8. What if I don’t receive an answer about my residency until after I receive the initial billing statement?
  9. I am an international person who has applied for permanent resident status in the United States.
    When may I be treated as a resident?
  10. What about the H-1 visa?
  11. What if I am on a temporary visa, but I marry a person who is a resident of Illinois?
  12. I have lived in Illinois all my life, but left the state to attend undergraduate school. I wish to return
    to Illinois for graduate school. Will I be a resident?
  13. My spouse is employed in Illinois, files taxes, and has taken other actions which verify intent to
    reside in Illinois. Am I a resident?
  14. My spouse is a graduate assistant. Am I a resident?
  15. What paperwork do I have to file to request a change in my residency classification?
  16. What if I disagree with the finding by Registration and Records?

1. When is a student’s residency status determined?

Each student’s residency status is established at the time when the completed application for admission is received and processed.  The decision is based on the information contained in the application for admission, transcripts, and other documents required for admission. The residence status determined at this time remains in effect until the student either (1) petitions for resident tuition classification by providing supporting documents establishing the student has fulfilled the requirements for residency or (2) loses residency by his/her absence from Illinois or (3) intent to become a resident of another state.

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2. What do I have to do to become an Illinois resident for tuition purposes?

It is assumed that a student’s residency status is that of his/her parents.  Northern Illinois University requires that you be a bona fide resident of Illinois for six consecutive months prior to the semester for which you are petitioning and maintain a permanent residence year round. The University's requirements to establish residency may be different than other Illinois institutions of higher education. Bona fide residency involves actually living in the state of Illinois and taking other specific actions which bond you to the state of Illinois. It also requires that you reside in Illinois primarily for reasons that are not related to receiving an education.

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3. How important is registering to vote, getting a driver’s license/or an Illinois identification card, and establishing an Illinois bank account?

These actions signify intent to reside in Illinois for other than educational purposes.

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4. Can my parents claim me in another state while I’m establishing residency? Do I have to file Illinois income taxes?

If your parents claim you in another state, chances are you are eligible to receive in-state tuition in their state of residency.  Students may be considered residents in one state only.  Any and all employment must be reported on the petition.  You are required to file Illinois income taxes and a federal income tax return, using your Illinois address, for the income you’ve earned.  In addition, you may be asked to submit year-to-date earnings statements to indicate payment of Illinois taxes.

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5. If my parents move to Illinois, when can I become a resident?

If your parents move on or before the first day of classes for the term in which you are registering, you will be considered to be an Illinois resident.  If they move to Illinois after the term has begun, you will be considered as in-state at the beginning of the next term. Your parents must actually become domiciled, make their home in the state of Illinois and may be asked to verify their residence. Your parents don’t need to be bona fide residents for six consecutive months.

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6. What if my parents are divorced?

As long as one parent is a bona fide resident of Illinois, you will receive resident status. That is true even if the parent outside of Illinois is actually your main source of financial support.

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7. What if my parents move outside of Illinois?

Once you have applied and are admitted as a resident student, your in-state residency continues. However, you must maintain continuous enrollment and maintenance of a separate residence (actually live) in Illinois.

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8. What if I don’t receive an answer about my residency until after I receive the initial billing statement?

You must make a decision whether you will enroll with the risk of being a nonresident student. A verbal recommendation from a staff member of the University is not grounds for determination of residency. The only determination which is official is the decision made by the Office of Registration and Records.  If you are approved for in-state residency, then a refund will be processed for any difference of tuition incurred.

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9. I am an international person who has applied for permanent resident status in the United States.
When may I be treated as a resident?

Notification that your application has been received is not sufficient.  If you hold a temporary visa, you will be considered as abandoning your former visa status only if you have an AED card and are working in the state of Illinois.  You must petition for in-state residency.  If you cannot provide this type of proof, then you may be considered as in-state only after you receive federal notification that your status for permanent residency has been approved.

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10. What about the H-1 visa?

The holder of an H-1B or H-1C may be eligible for residency for tuition purposes. A dependent of an H-1B or H-1C, who holds an H-4 visa, may also be eligible.

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11. What if I am on a temporary visa, but I marry a person who is a resident of Illinois?

As long as you are on a temporary visa, you will still need to abide by the guidelines previously mentioned regarding abandonment of your former visa status to establish in-state residency.

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12. I have lived in Illinois all my life, but left the state to attend undergraduate school. I wish to return
to Illinois for graduate school. Will I be a resident?

If your parents still live in Illinois, you will be considered a resident.

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13. My spouse is employed in Illinois, files taxes, and has taken other actions which verify intent to
reside in Illinois. Am I a resident?

A person can gain residency through his or her spouse if that spouse is a bona fide resident of Illinois. You will be asked to provide proof that your spouse has been a bona fide residence in Illinois for six consecutive months along with other supporting documents as outlined in the petition.

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14. My spouse is a graduate assistant. Am I a resident?

Staff members of the university and faculties of state-supported institutions of higher education in Illinois, holding appointment of at least one-quarter time, and their spouses and dependent children, shall be treated as residents.  However, the term “staff member” shall not include graduate assistants or student hourly workers, so employment as a graduate student does not automatically entitle the graduate assistant or his/her spouse to resident benefits. 

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15. What paperwork do I have to file to request a change in my residency classification?

The process begins with filing a Petition for Change to Illinois Residency Status. It must be received by the Office of Registration and Records by the published deadlines established for each term. The Petition can be obtained at the Office of Registration and Records or downloaded from this web site. If the Petition is even one day late, it will not be reviewed. You should attach copies of documents to verify the information contained in the Petition.  Petitions that do not contain the requisite documents at the point of initial submission will be denied.

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16. What if I disagree with the finding by Registration and Records?

If the student is dissatisfied with the ruling in response to the written claim made within said period, he or she may appeal the ruling to the Vice Provost by filing a written request with the designated university residency official in the Office of Registration and Records within 20 calendar days of receipt of the notice of the ruling. If such a written request is filed within said period, available information on the question of residency status under the provisions of the Residency Status Regulation of the Board of Trustees and of applicable laws shall be referred by the designated university residency official in the Office of Registration and Records to the Vice Provost, whose decision shall be final.

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Further information or clarification may be secured by contacting the Office of Registration and Records at (815) 753-8217.