How Long Does It Take to Become a California Resident?

The state of California considers people to be residents if they're in the state on a basis that isn't temporary, or if they're based in the state but are temporarily staying in another state, so people become residents immediately upon meeting these requirements. However, establishing residency to obtain a California driver's license or pay residency tuition at a university has additional requirements that will affect how long it takes to meet residency requirements.

To be classified as a resident for the purpose of obtaining a California driver's license, a person needs to have done some activity that non-residents cannot, such as pay resident tuition at a university or register to vote, according to DMV. Becoming a California resident for university tuition purposes requires that the person has lived in California for one year already, according to UC Berkeley.