Important Note

Please note that the following information on study abroad for students in DACA status was compiled before the 2016 presidential election.  The ability of students in DACA status to study abroad depends on policy that may change under the new administration. 

Therefore:

  • DACAmented students currently studying abroad on Advance Parole and planning to return on or after January 20th should contact Citizenship Now ASAP.
  • Students planning to study abroad during the winter inter-session should plan to return on or before January 19th, if necessary.  Contact the study abroad office in charge of the program to arrange for an early return if necessary.  Contact Citizenship Now ASAP for assistance applying for Advance Parole.
  • Students planning to study abroad on a spring 2017 program or thereafter should contact Citizenship Now ASAP for advice.
  • Be aware of changes to U.S. federal immigration policies as of January 27th before traveling abroad.  See here to learn more about these changes and find useful resources.

WHAT IS DACA?

  • The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, in force since June 2012, provides temporary relief from deportation to individuals born after June 16, 1981 who have lived continuously in the U.S. since June 15, 2007. See here for full eligibility criteria and other details.
  • Individuals with DACA status (also known as “Dreamers”) can renew their status every two years. DACA is not a lawful status, but it confers important benefits, such as the ability to apply for temporary work permits and social security numbers, and even (with careful advance planning) to travel abroad using the Advance Parole travel document program.

WHO IS ELIGIBLE FOR ADVANCE PAROLE?

  • USCIS may grant DACA students permission to travel outside the U.S. for educational (study abroad), employment or humanitarian purposes.

HOW DO I APPLY?

  • CUNY students can receive free application assistance through CUNY Citizenship Now! For an appointment, please email citizenshipnowinfo@cuny.edu or call (212) 652-2055.
  • Student will need a letter from their college (most commonly provided by the Study Abroad Office) describing the purpose of travel, explaining why travel is required and/or beneficial.
  • Your chances of being approved for Advance Parole are better if you select a study abroad program that aligns with your major/minor. You can search for CUNY study abroad programs by academic field here.
  • Student will need a document confirming their enrollment in an educational program requiring travel. Application currently costs $360.

HOW DOES THIS AFFECT THE STUDY ABROAD PLANNING PROCESS?

You should start planning as early as possible. Apply to the study abroad program well before its application deadline, so that you will have the required document confirming your enrollment in the study abroad program when you apply for Advance Parole.

DOES ADVANCE PAROLE GUARANTEE THAT I WON’T HAVE PROBLEMS RE-ENTERING THE COUNTRY?

No—but you can assess your relative risk by researching the factors that are most likely to trigger Customs and Border Patrol to deny you re-entry. Helpful information is available at the UCSIS website.  We recommend that all students with DACA status review this carefully before applying for advance parole.

WHAT IF I LOSE MY ADVANCE PAROLE DOCUMENT WHILE ABROAD?

You should visit the nearest U.S. consulate. It’s highly recommended to keep copies of your Advance Parole document to expedite processing in this event.

HOW CAN I MINIMIZE PROBLEMS WHEN RETURNING TO THE U.S?

  • DACA students with an Advance Parole travel document should carry the following documents with them (not in their luggage): DACA approval notice, official definition of DACA from the USCIS website, passport, State ID/Driver’s License, Advance Parole document, copy of the letter from the college and enrollment verification letter.
  • Stay within the approved travel dates and destination(s).
  • If you lose your Advance Parole document while abroad, visit the nearest U.S. consulate to apply for a replacement. Keep copies of your Advance Parole document and all other important documents.

CUNY STAFF: SUPPORTING DACA STUDENTS’ EFFORTS TO STUDY ABROAD

  • Do not provide LEGAL advice. Contact one of the attorneys at CUNY Citizenship Now!
  • Advise students that selecting a study abroad program that aligns with their major/minor will increase their chances of being approved for Advance Parole.
  • If providing a letter of purpose for travel, be honest and indicate any dates/destinations outside of the study abroad experience.
  • Provide a phone number that you can be reached at if the student is detained by Customs and Border Patrol (CBP), so that you can confirm their reason for traveling. If needed you can also easily contact a free or low-cost legal agency on behalf of the student.
  • In case of an emergency contact Allan Wernick.
  • Staff may also want to consult NAFSA’s Resource Page on DACA.