International & Domestic Programs DACA and Undocumented Students

DACA and Undocumented Students

Domestic Programs

Undocumented and DACAmented students who wish to participate in a domestic program should contact the IDPO early in the semester preceding the program. Students can travel in the U.S. with a driver’s license, state identification card, passport, or other document accepted by the mode of transportation. If you wish to have additional documentation from Pomona College supporting your travel, the IDPO can provide a letter.

International Programs

Students who are DACA recipients may be able to study abroad with advance paroleThe process requires a few extra steps, and we encourage students with DACA to meet with a study abroad advisor as early as possible.

Each individual’s and family’s immigration history is unique, and students are strongly encouraged to consult with an immigration attorney and their families prior to deciding whether or not to apply to study abroad. There is significant risk involved in leaving the country, even with the advance parole document. Pomona College students may contact to connect with Pomona’s Pro Bono Immigration Legal Resource Network.

Advance Parole

Advance parole is a travel document authorizing temporary parole of an individual into the U.S. There are three types of travel allowable for DACAmented students under advance parole, one of which is “Educational purposes, such as semester abroad programs or academic research.” Students must apply for and receive the advance parole travel document prior to leaving the U.S.

When returning from study abroad, a student with DACA presents the advance parole document to the airline at check-in as authorization for entry into the U.S., in place of a visa. Upon arrival in the U.S., the student presents the advance parole document (along with the passport and DACA card) to the border agent at customs and immigration. The border agent may then parole the student into the U.S.

Applying for Advance Parole

DACAmented students may apply for advance parole by filing a Form I-131, Application for Travel Document, and paying the application fee ($575) to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). In our experience, the processing time of an advance parole application is estimated at about three to six months but may take longer. Give yourself extra time for the application in case of delays (we recommend at least six months). You should not leave the U.S. without an advance parole document that is valid through the entire semester abroad.

The Form I-131 instructions have clear and comprehensive information about advance parole. We recommend reading the information carefully to help determine the risk involved and discussing with your family and an immigration lawyer.

Note: If you need financial assistance for the advance parole application fee, you can contact the Dean of Students and complete the Emergency Funding Form on the Dean of Students Office page in Engage.

Recommended International Programs Timeline for DACAmented Students

The process requires a few extra steps, and we encourage students with DACA to meet with an international programs advisor as early as possible. Students are encouraged to follow this general timeline:

1 year in advance:

  • Meet with an international programs advisor
  • Discuss your plans with your family and immigration attorney
  • Begin the process to research and select your program

9-12 months in advance:

  • Renew your DACA (if applicable – DACA must remain valid through the end of your program plus 120-150 days afterwards)
  • Renew your passport (if expiring within six months after the end of your program)
  • Apply to your study abroad program
  • Gather documents for Advance Parole application

6 months in advance:

  • Apply for Advance Parole

3+ months in advance:

  • Apply for visa (if necessary)
  • Complete pre-departure requirements for program
  • Book flight within Pomona’s flight booking guidelines

1-3 months in advance:

  • Gather all documentation required for travel to confirm you have what you need and to provide time to address any processing delays (e.g., passport, visa, Advance Parole document, DACA card, program acceptance letter, etc.)

Things to Consider

When does your DACA expire?

It is important to note when your DACA will expire. Your DACA must be valid during your entire stay abroad and through the date you re-enter the U.S. USCIS recommends submitting a renewal request between 120 and 150 days before your DACA expires. You may not file for advance parole and DACA renewal at the same time.

When does your passport expire?

Your passport must be valid before, during, and for six months after your time abroad. If you need to apply for or renew your passport, please begin this process six months before your planned departure to allow enough time for passport and visa (if necessary) processing.

Will you need a visa to study in the country you’ve chosen? Can you apply for the country’s visa within the United States?

It is important to check if you will need a visa for your destination country. This is determined based on what country your passport is from. More importantly, you should make sure that if a visa is required, you will be able to apply for it within the U.S. To find out visa requirements, visit the country’s Embassy/Consulate website. If you do not find the information that you need on the website, try emailing them or calling them. Embassies’/Consulates' contact info can be found on their website.  Your program staff can also provide information and help guide you through this process. Pomona College students with DACA have successfully studied abroad in Brazil, Ecuador, Germany, Hungary, Japan, Morocco, South Korea, and the United Kingdom.

Note: Keep in mind that semester study abroad programs are longer than 90 days. Additionally, some countries require a special visa for students, even if tourists do not need one.

Does Advance Parole guarantee you re-entry to the United States?

No. Leaving the country as a student under DACA with Advance Parole does not guarantee that you will be able to re-enter the U.S. You are still subject to U.S. Customs and Border Protection inspection process at the port of entry. Several Pomona students have successfully returned from study abroad with Advance Parole, but keep in mind there is risk involved in leaving. We strongly encourage you to talk with a lawyer for specific advice regarding your family’s immigration history and the impact it may have on your Advance Parole application and a request to re-enter the U.S. after study abroad. Please refer to the Undocumented and DACAmented Student Resources page to contact the Sagehen Pro Bono immigration legal resources network.

Note: Re-entry with advance parole does not mean being “admitted” to the U.S. In simple terms, the immigration officer temporarily “paroles” you into the U.S.