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DACA Students

DACAmented Students 

We are dedicated to helping all students who wish to pursue an international experience during college. Undocumented students have the opportunity to study abroad through the Department of Homeland Security's Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals memorandum (DACA). This page is intended to provide general information to students, parents and university employees regarding DACA and study abroad. This information is not to be considered as legal advice and should not be relied upon as such.

DACAmented refers to 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 Advance Parole.

Within this context, parole is synonymous with permission.  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, 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 counsel with an immigration attorney before considering this as an option. 

Once you’ve discussed your circumstances with legal counsel and decided that you want to study abroad, you should:

  1. Attend a Study Abroad 101 Information Session to learn the basics about study abroad.
  2. Research programs on the Study Abroad Office website to explore country-specific information and determine which program(s) is/are relevant to your education.
  3. Once you have two or three destinations in mind, you should meet with an International Coordinator in the Study Abroad Office to discuss the application process, university compliance procedures, costs and visas.
  4. Determine if the study abroad program deadlines align with your DACA renewal (if applicable) timeframe and the application processing timelines for Advance Parole.

Important: ASU’s Study Abroad Office cannot guarantee re-entry back into the United States, even though students are participating in an approved ASU Study Abroad program.

Keep in mind:

  • A DACAmented student is granted Advance Parole if travel abroad is for educational purposes, including semester abroad programs or academic research.
  • Re-entry back into the U.S. cannot be guaranteed, even with advance parole authorization and the approval of a university or study abroad office.
  • Students should discuss the risks associated with re-entry with their legal counsel.
  • Students should apply for DACA renewal early and make sure their DACA does not expire while they are abroad.
  • There are negative consequences when applying for DACA or DACA renewal if a person has left the country without Advance Parole.

Resources for more information: