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DREAMers and DACA Students Education Abroad Information

Education Abroad for DREAMers and DACA StudentsThe Office of Education Abroad and Scholar Services is dedicated to helping all students who wish to pursue an international experience abroad. Undocumented or DREAMer students have the opportunity to study abroad through the Department of Homeland Security's Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals memorandum (DACA). This page is to provide general information to students, parents and university employees regarding DACA and education abroad. This information is not to be considered as legal advice and should not be relied upon as such.

Who are DREAMer’s?

An Undocumented person who came to the United States as a child and gained approval, through a formal application process, for DACA benefits and is in possession of a federally issued employment authorization card. DACAmented individuals can apply for driver’s licenses in their respective states, a social security number for employment purposes and for specific permission to leave and re-enter the United States for employment, humanitarian and educational reasons, including potentially studying abroad on approved university programs, using a travel document known as an Advance Parole .

What is an Advance Parole?

Within this context, parole is synonymous with permission, Advance Parole is a travel document that gives an undocumented person advance authorization to re-enter into the United States after the person has traveled abroad for humanitarian, education, and/or work purposes.

Things to Consider

Despite possessing this advance permission to return to the United States, a returning DACA parolee is considered an applicant for admission and could still be subject to removal proceedings based upon applicable grounds of inadmissibility. The fact that the Advance Parole document was issued by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) does not mean that it can be safely used by all DACA students. Depending on the DACA student’s specific immigration history, a departure from the U.S. and attempted use of an Advance Parole Document may not result in their successful return to the U.S. and could have serious negative consequences for their future immigration process. The law relating to travel on Advance Parole for DACA students is complicated, and we strongly encourage students to seek legal counsel with an immigration attorney before considering this as an option. 

  • Applicants may not travel outside the United States until after their DACA Advance Parole request has been approved.
  • Recipients who travel outside the U.S. without being approved for travel will lose their DACA status.
  • Those using advance parole will be inspected at the border when they return, and there is always a possibility that they could be denied entry, even if the government permitted them to travel.

Source: Immigrant Resource Legal Center; Travel for DACA Applicants (Advance Parole) - ILRC

Additional Resources

Travel For DACA Applicants - PDF guide with more information about Advance Parole.

Advance Parole Application - Application and detailed instructions for completion, including more information about Advance Parole.

The DREAM - DACA, finding legal help, events, news, FAQ, links, and lots of other resources.

USCIS Apply for DACA - Link to DACA application and details.

United we Dream - Information about DACA and additional resources.

CalMexCenter - A Dream Come True (2016) #DreamersStudyAbroad: Nonprofit organization’s short documentary about DREAMer students who go on a study abroad program and share their experience. Also view additional CalMexCenter Resources.