Utility bill in CA
February 14, 2014 5:51 PM   Subscribe

How can I save time on not having to wait longer to get proof on a water bill or another utility bill? Trying to get residency here for the purpose of college tuition costs. Moved from New York and staying with my aunt for a short while (a couple months or so). I tried calling the water bill company (I think water... not sure... I forgot) and they can't add me to the bill as they said over the phone that they will only add a spouse to the bill. What can I do so that way I can get the ball rolling sooner?
posted by antgly to Travel & Transportation around Los Angeles, CA (9 answers total)
Is there an account you have control of that you could switch over such as a cell phone? What about a bank statement? Maybe you could switch the address on file with your bank.
posted by duien at 5:57 PM on February 14, 2014

Look at colleges' websites - many specify what they require to prove CA residency. These are just the first two I found on google:

posted by needs more cowbell at 6:01 PM on February 14, 2014

Here's Santa Monica Community College's list of acceptable proofs of residency. Here's Berkeley's. It looks like SMCC requires at least 2, both dated at least a year before you're claiming residency. Berkeley doesn't specify how many, but given that this is regulated by state law and not the universities/colleges, I'd guess that 2 would still be enough.

It looks like changing your driver's license (or getting a CA state ID card if you don't drive) and changing your bank account address to a California address (even if you move later) would be sufficient. You shouldn't need to mess around with utility bills.
posted by matildatakesovertheworld at 6:04 PM on February 14, 2014 [1 favorite]

I'm not sure what you can do on the utility bill short of switching it over to your name entirely, as in taking financial responsibility for the bill (doesn't seem like a great idea if it's not a permanent situation.)

Other things to work on in the meantime: switch to a CA bank, get a CA drivers license, get health insurance in CA...

Though I assume you're covering your bases, I second needsmorecowbell in recommending you take a close look at what the actual residency requirments of the school are. They are usually very strict and specific so I doubt a utility bill alone will be sufficient.
posted by dahliachewswell at 6:04 PM on February 14, 2014

You could convince your aunt to let you change the bill to your name. However, establishing residency for tuition purposes in California is fairly difficult, as needs more cowbell detailed. (I lived across the hall from someone who had been adopted from Korea as an infant. She had to produce the adoption paperwork from 18 years earlier, despite having never lived outside of California since the adoption. That said, I did know someone who successfully changed their residency for tuition purposes, so it is doable.)
posted by hoyland at 6:04 PM on February 14, 2014

given that this is regulated by state law and not the universities/colleges

However, the determination of residency is made at the university/college level and so there's likely to be differences in how they understand the law. I'm pretty sure Berkeley wants everything on their list (or as many as humanly possible). You're trying to prove you're in California for reasons other than education.
posted by hoyland at 6:10 PM on February 14, 2014

I wanted to add that while California has strict requirements for residency, many departments require their phd students to obtain residency. This is something people do all the time (plenty of whom live in grad student housing and don't have utility bills). If you're thinking about this early and doing as many of the things on the list as you can, a single utility bill (especially if you have one from 4 months from now) doesn't seem like something to stress about.

Disclaimer: I've never had to establish CA residency myself (grew up there) but I know people who have.
posted by matildatakesovertheworld at 6:17 PM on February 14, 2014

You don't need a water or other utility bill in this process. If you were attending UCSD, this is the petition you'd fill out. Note the questions ask about ID, bank accounts, voting, property. Getting a utility bill in your name won't help. Being an actual resident here will. You have to get an ID. If you have a car, register it here. Have bank accounts here. Register to vote and vote here. You know, stuff like the people that live here do. Living with your aunt is a perfectly valid reason for not having a lease or utility bills. Not owning a car is a perfectly valid reason for not having your car registered in California. Owning a car and having it in another state is a not a valid reason, even it is still in that other state.

Visit the school you're going to to see their version of the petition for change of status. Most have great resources for helping students navigate this.

If you're under 24, you'll need to be financially self sufficient. That is practically impossible while going to school and paying out of state tuition. If you're over 24 it is much easier since all you need to show for income is that if you were working you paid taxes at the federal and state level and listed California as your permanent address.

Disclaimer: I've been admitted to a UC as a California resident; moved away and had go through the hoops to get instate tuition in two(!) other states, and then came back and was admitted again to a university in California as an instate resident. It is super easy to do if you actually have intent to being a California resident and demonstrate that by making it your home for a year before.
posted by birdherder at 7:50 PM on February 14, 2014 [1 favorite]

Proving residency is really hard, at least at the UCs (you don't say where you're trying to get residency). I looked into this for my sister, who lives outside of California, and it basically turned out that she couldn't live with me at all and expect to get residency. I was able to get residency but the rules are relaxed for grad students.

Make sure you read through the residency stuff with a fine-toothed comb and that you follow every item to the letter. You will definitely get denied otherwise.
posted by zug at 8:23 PM on February 14, 2014

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