New students contact Admissions, Graduate School, or Law School. Registrar's Office is responsible for residency classification of previously enrolled and currently enrolled students.
3/20/2020 from Montana's Office of the Commissioner of Higher Education:
Normally, an absence of more than 30 days from Montana would give rise to a presumption of non-residency under the Board of Regents residency policy 940.1. However, absences that are directly related to the COVID-19 epidemic or result directly from campus actions taken to protect health and safety should generally not count against the 12-month residency period. It is extremely important that students understand they cannot establish residency ties to another state during this period. This includes but is not limited to obtaining a driver’s license, registering to vote, or registering a vehicle in another state. Students must carefully document all significant residency actions and dates, and the reason for any COVID-19 extended absence from Montana.
Initial Residency Classification
At the University of Montana – Missoula, the Registrar’s Office handles residency reclassifications for all continuing or returning students. New students should contact the appropriate admissions office regarding their initial classification:
Undergraduate Admissions: firstname.lastname@example.org or directly to your admission evaluator
Graduate School Admissions: email@example.com
Law School Admissions: firstname.lastname@example.org
Physical Therapy Admissions: email@example.com
The Montana University System classifies all students as either in-state or out-of-state upon admission. This classification affects admissions decisions and fee determinations. The basic rules for making the classification are found in the Board of Regents' Policy 940.1. It is each student's responsibility to secure and review a copy of the policy. Failure to be aware of the rules will not be a cause for granting any exceptions to them. A copy of the policy is available from the Admissions Office or the Registrar's Office. Each residency determination is based on the unique set of facts found in each individual's case.
Please note, as of January 8, 2019 per subsection H, out-of-state students admitted to a professional degree program (law, pharmacy, or physical therapy at UM), are not eligible for reclassification and shall remain classified as an out-of-state student for the duration of enrollment in the professional program. A student in these programs who is classified as out-of-state who maintains their initial classification was in error may only seek reclassification prior to the start of their initial term of enrollment.
Beginning the 12-Month Period
With certain exceptions in subsections H and I, in order to be eligible for in-state status, a person must meet a 12-month durational residency test. You will have to demonstrate a bona fide intent to become a Montana resident.
The 12-month continuous period of domicile in Montana does not start until some act indicative of an intent to establish residency is taken, although one act is not definitive of all acts that may be necessary. Mere presence in Montana or enrollment at a unit will not serve to start this period.
While it is your responsibility to read and adhere to the entire policy, some especially applicable subsections follow. Highlights are added:
- The 12-month period referred to in subsection B does not begin to run until an act indicative of intent to become a Montana resident is taken. The following acts will serve as such indicators, although one act is not definitive of all acts that may be necessary to be classified as in-state under this policy:
(a) A motor vehicle owned or operated by the person seeking in-state status is registered in Montana,
(b) A Montana driver's license is acquired,
(c) A Montana voter registration is acquired,
(d) A principal residence is purchased in Montana...
- ...only in the event that none of the above indicators are appropriate, the person seeking instate status may file an affidavit of intent to establish residency. A form may be obtained from and must be filed with the unit…
- The 12-month period does not run for any period during which the person enjoys a status, receives a benefit, or exercises a right or privilege based upon residency outside of Montana, or which negates the intent to become a Montana resident. For example, the 12-month period does not run for any period in which the person maintains legal ties to another state or country such as a driver’s license, vehicle registration, voter registration, or tax liability, regardless of the person’s reasons for establishing or maintaining such ties.
Support for Claim of Bona-Fide Residency
Your actions during the 12 month waiting period will be used to determine whether you are in the state as a bona fide resident or merely for educational purposes. The decision on your residency will not generally depend on just one factor.
The 12-month period does not run for any period during which you enjoy a status, receive a benefit, exercise a privilege, or maintain legal ties to another state or country. This includes but is not limited to a maintaining a driver’s license, vehicle registration, voter registration, or tax liability in another state, participation in the Western Undergraduate Exchange or National Student Exchange, or holding a student visa (type FI or J1).
The following are some of the things you need to do that will support a claim of bona fide residency:
A. Register to vote if you are a vote
B. License a vehicle if you operate one in Montana
C. Obtain a driver's license or state ID
D. Be physically present in Montana, not out of state, for more than a total of 30 days
E. Not be claimed as a tax exemption by residents of another state
F. Provide at least 51% of your own financial support. Generally, a person not taking classes should document a minimum of $6000 towards their own support during the twelve month period. If you choose to take any classes, you must also account for tuition/fees.
G. File a Montana resident income tax return (this is important for all who claim residency in Montana, regardless of the amount of earnings)
H. Do not register for more than seven (7) credits per semester (including summer school) during the twelve month waiting period. Registering for more than 7 credits creates a strong presumption that you are in the state for educational purposes and may disqualify you from achieving in-state status.
I. Do not accept any benefits or participate in programs that require you to be a resident of another state, including (but limited to) non-resident scholarships like LAS, UM Need Grant, WUE, TARA, WRGP, National Student Exchange, etc.
Subsection I Exceptions
Notwithstanding the residency requirement, the policy specifically allows in-state status for classes of persons described in subsection I. Please read subsection I of the policy to review these classes. The entire description of the class must be true in order to be applicable.
However, if a person receives in-state status under the provisions of this subsection, such status continues only so long as the person remains a member of one of the described classes.
The VETS Office verifies whether someone is a “covered individual” under Section 702 of the Veterans Access, Choice and Accountability Act of 2014. If you believe you qualify under this specific exception, please contact their staff. They will notify the Registrar’s and Admissions Offices if and when a change can be made.
Deadlines, Application Materials, and Resources
The 12-month period must be completed by the 15th instructional day to qualify for that term.
Requests for residency reclassification changes will be accepted no earlier than the 11th month of the 12 month waiting period.
Example #1: You moved to Montana January 1, 2020, and registered to vote on April 1, 2020. You never had a vehicle or driver’s license/ID registered in a prior state. You can submit your request on or after March 1, 2021 for reclassification beginning summer semester 2021.
Example #2: You moved to Montana January 1, 2020, registered to vote on April 1, 2020, but you cut your final legal ties by transferring your vehicle registration and getting your Montana driver’s license on August 30, 2020. You can submit your request on or after July 30, 2021 for reclassification beginning autumn semester 2021.
The priority deadline to submit materials for review is usually the fifth day of classes for that term.
Applications submitted with all required documentation will be reviewed first. Incomplete applications will be delayed. Please view pre-screening form for the required application materials .
Please plan accordingly.
Semester Seeking Residency
12-Month Period Complete By
Priority Deadline to Submit Materials*
September 21, 2020
August 26, 2020
February 1, 2021
January 15, 2021
August 1, 2021
September 20, 2021
September 3, 2021
January 31, 2021
January 14, 2021
*Requests are due, though they can be accepted up to the 15th class day. Earlier submission is encouraged to allow time for review and correction or to turn in missing documents. Residency reclassifications may affect tuition and fee assessment. See Business Services – Student Accounts for bill payment deadlines.
Residency Questionnaire – required for all reclassifications
Pre-Screening Form – a checklist for the most commonly required documents
Affidavit of Intent to Establish Residency – only use if none of the other indicators are appropriate (see Beginning the 12-Month Period)
Board of Regents Residency Requirements – statewide summary
Board of Regents Policy 940.1 – full policy language
Submission of Residency Documentation
At the end of your 12-month waiting period you must complete the residency questionnaire and attach copies of your supporting documents to the Registrar’s Office for review. See "Application Materials" under the above "Deadlines, Application Materials, and Resources" tab for links.
Materials can be submitted via:
- Email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Scans, attachments, or photos are fine as long as they are clear; or
- Mail to Registrar’s Office, 201 Lommasson Center, Missoula, MT 59812; or
- Dropbox in front of the Registrar’s Office (2nd floor Lommasson)
This documentation can be submitted to the Registrar's Office up to 30 days in advance of the petitioner’s start date and no later than the 15th instructional day of the semester for which the status is sought. When a student petitions or meets the requirements after the 15th instructional day, a change in classification, if granted, will not be retroactive and will become effective for the next term.
Reclassification is not automatic and will not occur unless the individual so petitions. It is the students responsibility to meet any filing deadlines or requirements that are imposed by the appropriate unit of the Montana University System. The appeal process is given in the Regents' policy.
For more information, please contact Dawn Barnhart.
If a student is denied in-state classification upon admission or reclassification to in-state status by the Registrar’s Office, the student may appeal the decision to the Residency Classification Committee. The decision of this committee constitutes the final campus decision, and further appeals shall be referred to the Commissioner of Higher Education.
To appeal the Registrar’s Office’s decision, the student must submit a letter addressed to the Residency Classification Committee within 14 calendar days of the Registrar’s Office’s written decision. An appeal may be accompanied by any additional written materials the student wishes to submit that are relevant to the classification decision. The appeal letter and any additional materials should be submitted to Dawn Barnhart in the Registrar’s Office who will transmit the entire residency packet to the committee for consideration
To appeal a decision of the Residency Classification Committee, the student must submit a letter addressed to the Commissioner of Higher Education within 14 calendar days of the committee’s decision. An appeal may be accompanied by any additional written materials the student wishes to submit that are relevant to the classification decision. These materials should be submitted to Dawn Barnhart in the Registrar’s Office who will transmit the entire packet to the Commissioner’s office in Helena.
Further appeal procedures are outlined in Section II. C. of the Regents’ policy 940.1.