If you are not a U.S. citizen, you may or may not qualify for resident tuition status on the same basis as a U.S. citizen. It depends on the type of immigration documents you hold.
Certain visas and other immigration documents allow you to establish a domicile in the U.S. and thus in North Carolina. If a person possesses one of the types of documentation listed below, that person has capacity to (is legally able to) establish legal residence for tuition purposes. However, that person must still take the actions and have the intent necessary to establish legal residence for tuition purposes. Eligibility for in-state tuition under these visa statuses lasts only so long as the time frame of the authorized stay under the applicable visa status.
A-1, A-2, E-1, E-2, E-3, G-1, G-2, G-3, G-4, H-1B, H-1C, H-4, I, K-1, K-2, K-3, K-4, L-1A, L-1B, L-2, N, O-1, O-3, P-1, P-2, P-3, P-4, R-1, R-2, T-1, T-2, T-3, T-4, T-5, U-1, U-2, U-3, U-4, U-5, V-1, V-2, V-3, NATO-1, NATO-2, NATO-3, NATO-4, NATO-5 or NATO-6. Temporary Protected Status (TPS): Effective November 14, 2012 individuals under Temporary Protected Status (TPS) have capacity and may establish legal residence for tuition purposes.
Other visas do not allow you to establish domicile (for example: B, C, D, F, J, M or Q). If you are in the country on a student visa, you cannot qualify for in-state tuition.
If you have one of the visas that does not allow you to establish domicile and you later get a visa that does allow you to do so, the time you spent in North Carolina under the old visa will not count toward the 12-month requirement. After you receive the new document, you must establish North Carolina domicile and wait 12 months.
If you have applied for permanent resident status (the “green card”) but it has not been granted yet, you are considered as still being in the country under the visa or document that you had before you applied for the green card.
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) documentation indicating that a petition or application is being considered does not change the visa status of the visa holder. Also, the Employment Authorization Document does not, in and of itself, constitute residency capacity.