COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA
DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION
P. O. BOX 2120
RICHMOND, VIRGINIA 23218-2120
SUPTS. MEMO. NO. 1
May 7, 1999

INTERPRETIVE

TO: Division Superintendents
FROM: Paul D. Stapleton
Superintendent of Public Instruction
SUBJECT: Verification of Residency and Certain StudentsCitizenship of 
There have been many questions regarding a local school 
board's authority to ascertain the residency status of 
students desiring to attend public schools in a 
particular locality. The attached letter was sent by 
Attorney General Mark L. Earley in response to questions 
asked by Senator Bill Mims, of Leesburg, and addresses 
the following three questions:

1.  Can a local school board, in attempting to ascertain 
    whether a student applicant satisfies the residency 
    requirements for attendance in a particular public 
    school, inquire into the citizenship or visa status 
    of that student?

2.  If so, is documentation required to verify the 
    student's status?

3.  Are students holding visas under certain of the non-
    immigrant categories prescribed by federal law 
    unable, due to their status, to satisfy Virginia's  
    residency requirements for the purpose of attending 
    public schools free of charge?

In response to Senator Mims, Attorney General Earley 
states in his letter, that a local school board shall 
accept students who meet the specified criteria under 
section 22.1-3 of the Code of Virginia, and that local 
school boards are not permitted to inquire into the 
student applicant's citizenship or visa status and, 
therefore, documentation to verify such status is not the 
legitimate role of the school board. Note, however, that 
the Attorney General's letter does not address F-1 
student visas.  Information on the F-1 student visa is 
found in Superintendent's Memorandum No. 117, 
INFORMATIONAL, dated July 11, 1997.

If you have questions about this memo or the attached 
letter, you may contact Diane Atkinson, Assistant 
Superintendent for Policy and Public Affairs at (804) 
225-2403.


PDS/ci

Attachment:     A hard copy of this memo and its attach-
                ment will be sent to the superintendent's
                office.