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Applying to UC

Whether you’re applying to UC as a freshman or transfer student, here are some helpful tips for going through the application process as an undocumented student.

students walking across campus at UC Berkeley

Application fee waivers

We don’t want the application fee to get in the way of you applying to UC. That’s why we’ll waive application fees for up to four campuses for undocumented students who are AB 540-eligible and meet the income guidelines.

You can apply for a fee waiver within the online application and be notified immediately whether you have qualified. You will get the option of applying for a fee waiver based on how you fill out these questions:

  • Citizenship status: If you choose “No selection” (see the tips for filling out this section below)
  • California residency: If you attended a California high school for three or more years and will graduate or have graduated from a California high school
  • Your family's income and the number of people supported by that income

Fee waivers can't be applied to more than four campuses, regardless of their source (for instance, you wouldn't be able to use a College Board/SAT fee waiver and a UC fee waiver to apply to more than four UC campuses). If you qualify for a fee waiver and select more than four campuses, you'll need to pay $70 for each additional choice.

Tips for filling out the undergraduate application

Social security number

  • If you have a valid Social Security Number (SSN) — for instance, because of immigration proceedings — enter that on the application.
  • If you have an SSN for work purposes (usually through DACA), use that where the application asks for an SSN.
  • If you don’t have a valid SSN or SSN for work purposes, but do have an Individual Tax Payer Identification Number (ITIN), use the ITIN in place of an SSN on the application.
  • If you don’t have a valid SSN, SSN for work purposes, or ITIN, leave this item blank.

Make sure that the number you use on this item in the application is the same as the SSN or ITIN you enter on your Cal Dream Act Application.

Country of citizenship

As an undocumented student, you have the option to choose “No Selection.” This option is considered a valid response and we recommend this choice for undocumented applicants, including those with DACA status. By choosing “No Selection,” you’ll avoid being asked other questions about permanent residency and visa status that are not applicable to you.

California residency

You’ll be asked the following questions to determine if you are a California resident for admissions purposes:

  • By the time you attend UC, will you have attended a California school for three or more years during grades K through 12?
  • How long have you lived in California?
  • Is your parent or legal guardian a legal permanent resident of California? [if you’re under 18]
  • Is your parent, legal guardian, spouse or registered domestic partner an employee of UC or a UC-affiliated national laboratory?

If you’re considered a California resident for admissions purposes, you may be eligible for our application fee waiver and you’ll be considered for admission using the 3.0 minimum GPA (rather than the 3.4 GPA for nonresident applicants).

Keep in mind: Being a California resident for admissions purposes does not necessarily mean you’ll be considered a resident for tuition purposes. Find out if you could be eligible for a nonresident supplemental tuition exemption (also known as AB 540).

Personal insight questions

It's up to you if you want to use one of the personal insight question responses or the additional comments section to discuss your undocumented status. It isn't required, but it can provide more context for your application by helping reviewers understand your circumstance and resources. Immigration status will not be used outside the application process other than for legitimate educational interests, including the provision of a service or benefit relating to the student, such as health care, counseling, job placement or financial aid.

Parent citizenship information

When you submit your application, you'll be asked questions about your parents’ citizenship status. For example: Is your parent a U.S. citizen? Has your parent been physically present in CA for the last 3 years? You don’t have to answer these questions, but if you do, we encourage you to answer them truthfully — any information you provide will not affect your admission decision. This information is used only to help UC determine residency.

Learn more about systemwide admissions >