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New Mexico Residency Requirements

Financial Independence

Overt Acts

Twelve Month Consecutive Presence

Written Declaration of Intent





A student who enters and remains in New Mexico principally to obtain an education is presumed to continue to reside outside this state.

This presumption continues in effect until rebutted by clear and convincing evidence of bonafide residence.

A student determined to be financially dependent on a parent or guardian also assumes the residency of that parent or guardian.

The "burden of proof" is on the student.

The student must secure and file the petition with the appropriate documents of evidence in the matter described herein. All documents submitted for this purpose are kept confidential.

To become a legal resident of New Mexico, four basic requirements must be completed by the student.

Each person must meet the requirements individually.


The Financial Independence Requirement.

A student who is financially dependent upon his/her parents or legal guardian who are nonresidents of New Mexico cannot be approved for residency.

At the time the student applies for residency (if under 23 years of age), a copy of his/her parents' or guardians' 1040 or 1040A U.S. income tax form for the previous year must be submitted with the application.

If the student is show to be dependent on this tax form, he/she is not eligible for residency apart from his/her parents or guardian.


The Overt Acts Requirement.

New Mexico requires the completion of several "overt" acts which support the student's declaration of "intent" to become a permanent resident.

Examples of such acts are:

  1. Securing a New Mexico driver's license;
  2. Securing a New Mexico automobile registration;
  3. Registering to vote in New Mexico;
  4. Filing a New Mexico state tax return for the previous year; and
  5. Securing employment in the state.

Any act considered inconsistent with being a New Mexico resident will cause the request for resident classification to be denied.

As such, other relevant factors may be considered in addition to the items listed above.

For example, additional documentation which may be requested of the student may include:

  1. evidence of a long established bank account of at least six months in New Mexico, or
  2. evidence of residential property ownership in New Mexico or evidence of a rental agreement within the State.

The student must meet the requirements of all of the overt acts listed in this section unless they can sufficiently demonstrate why they are unable to do so.

The New Mexico Higher Education Department recognizes that there may be circumstances in which a student would not be able to fulfill the requirements of an overt act as listed in this section, such as:

  1. individual is physically disabled and does not have a driver's license, or
  2. individual is a convicted felon and therefore cannot vote, etc.
Instances such as these, the institution will afford the student an opportunity to provide other documented evidence or reasonable explanation which demonstrated that permanent residency in New Mexico has been established by the student.

The Twelve Month Consecutive Presence Requirement.

A student must physically reside in the state for twelve (12) consecutive months immediately preceding the term for which the student submits his petition.

Note: A student cannot begin to complete the 12-month requirement until his/her 18th birthday.


The Written Declaration of "Intent" Requirement.

The student must sign a written declaration of intent to relinquish residency in another state and to establish it in New Mexico.