Residency Regulations (Condensed)

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Students who do not qualify as bona fide residents of the State of Hawaiʻi, according to the University of Hawaiʻi rules and regulations in effect at the time they register, must pay the nonresident tuition. An Official determination of residency status will be made prior to enrollment. Applicants may be required to provide documentation to verify residency status. Once classified as a nonresident, a student continues to be so classified during his/her term at the college until he/she can present clear and convincing evidence to the residency officer that proves otherwise.

Simply being enrolled in school does not establish residency. You are presumed to be in Hawaiʻi primarily to attend school if:

  • You are enrolled in school half-time or more (6 or more semester credits)
  • You appear to be receiving significant financial support from family members who reside outside of the State of Hawaiʻi.
  • You are absent from the State for more than thirty days per year during school vacation periods.
  • You receive financial assistance based on residency in another state or jurisdiction.

Some of the more pertinent University regulations follow. For additional information or interpretation, contact the residency officer in the Admissions Office. The complete rules and regulations are available on the left sidebar.

Definition of Hawaiʻi Residency

A student is deemed a resident of the State of Hawaiʻi for tuition purposes if the student (19 or older) or the student (under 19) and his/her parents or legal guardians have:

  1. Demonstrated intent to permanently reside in Hawaiʻi (see below for evidences);
  2. Been physically present in Hawaiʻi for the 12 consecutive months prior to the first day of instruction, and subsequent to the demonstration of intent to make Hawaiʻi his/her legal residency; and
  3. The student, whether adult or minor, has not been claimed as a dependent for tax purposes for at least 12 consecutive months prior to the first day of instruction by his/her parents or legal guardians who are not legal residents of Hawaiʻi.

To demonstrate the intent to make Hawaiʻi your legal residency, the following evidence apply:

  1. Filing Hawaiʻi resident personal income tax return.
  2. Voting/registering to vote in the State of Hawaiʻi.

Other evidence, such as permanent employment and ownership or continuous leasing of a dwelling in Hawaiʻi, may apply, but no single act is sufficient to establish residency in the State of Hawaiʻi.

Other legal factors in making a residency determination include:

  1. The 12 months of continuous residence in Hawaiʻi shall begin on the date upon which the first overt action (see evidences) is taken to make Hawaiʻi the permanent residence. Residence will be lost if it is interrupted during the 12 months immediately preceding the first day of instruction.
  2. Residency in Hawaiʻi and another place cannot be held simultaneously.
  3. Presence in Hawaiʻi primarily to attend an institution of higher learning does not create resident status. 6 Credit Rule: A nonresident student enrolled for 6 credits or more during any term within the 12 month period is presumed to be in Hawaiʻi to attend college. Such periods of enrollment cannot be applied toward the physical presence requirement.
  4. The residency of unmarried students who are minors follows that of the parents or legal guardian. Marriage emancipates a minor.
  5. Resident status, once acquired, will be lost by future voluntary action of the resident inconsistent with such status. However, Hawaiʻi residency will not be lost solely because of absence from the State while a member of the United States Armed Forces, while engaged in navigation, or while a student an any institution of learning, provided that Hawaiʻi is claimed and maintained as the person's legal residence.

Board of Regents Exemptions

Nonresidents may be allowed to pay resident tuition if they qualify as one of the following:

  1. United States military personnel and their authorized dependents (as defined by the Armed Services) during the period such personnel are stationed in Hawaiʻi on active duty.
  2. Members of the Hawaiʻi National Guard and Hawaiʻi-based Reserves.
  3. Full-time employees of the University of Hawaiʻi and their spouses and legal dependents (as defined under the Internal Revenue Service rules).
  4. East-West Center student grantees pursuing baccalaureate or advanced degrees.
  5. Hawaiians, descendents of the aboriginal peoples that inhabited the Hawaiian Islands and exercised sovereignty in the Hawaiian Islands in 1778.

Pacific Island Exemption

Citizens of an eligible Pacific Island district, commonwealth, territory, or insular jurisdiction, state, or nation which does not provide public institutions that grant baccalaureate degrees may be allowed to pay 150% of the resident tuition. These currently include the following:

  • American Samoa
  • Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas
  • Cook Islands
  • Federated States of Micronesia
  • Futuna
  • Kiribati
  • Nauru
  • New Caledonia
  • Niue
  • Republic of Palau
  • Republic of the Marshall Islands
  • Solomon Islands
  • Tokelau
  • Tonga
  • Tuvalu
  • Vanuatu
  • Wallis

Required Documentation to qualify for exemption:

District, Nation etc. Classification Required Documentation
American Samoa US National

1) U.S. passport endorsed as "U.S. National not U.S. citizen" listing American Samoa as birthplace OR

2) Birth certificate OR

3) Official HS transcript from HS in American Samoa

4) Must also be US Citizen, US National or Permanent Resident

Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Commonwealth

1) Birth certificate OR

2) Official HS transcript from HS in CNMI

3) Must also be US Citizen, US National or Permanent Resident

Cook Islands I-20 Passport from qualifying country
Federated States of Micronesia(Chuuk, Kosrae, Pohnpei, Yap) CFA*

1) Passport from qualifying country (primary) OR

2) Birth certificate

Futuna I-20 Passport from qualifying country
Kiribati I-20 Passport from qualifying country
Nauru I-20 Passport from qualifying country
New Caledonia I-20 Passport from qualifying country
Niue I-20 Passport from qualifying country
Republic of Palau CFA*

1) Passport from qualifying country (primary) OR

2) Birth certificate

Republic of the Marshall Islands CFA*

1) Passport from qualifying country (primary) OR

2) Birth certificate

Solomon Islands I-20 Passport from qualifying country
Tokelau I-20 Passport from qualifying country
Tonga I-20 Passport from qualifying country
Tuvalu I-20 Passport from qualifying country
Vanuatu I-20 Passport from qualifying country
Wallis I-20 Passport from qualifying country

* Compact of Free Association

Misrepresentation

A student or prospective student who provides incorrect information on any form or document intended for use in determination of residency status for tuition purposes will be subject to the requirements and/or disciplinary measures provided for in the rules and regulations governing residency status.

Appeal Process

Residency decisions may be appealed by contacting the residency officer for information on how to initiate an appeal.

For more information, please refer to Questions and Answers about Residency.