DACA grants temporary protection from deportation. Apart from this, it provides work authorization. It is an acronym for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. These people, called Dreamers, came into the country unlawfully as children. As a result, they cannot become legal citizens. DACA recipients receive a social security number, work permit, and driver’s license. But since they didn’t enter the country with proper documentation, studying abroad can be a hassle. If you’re a DACA student, let us explain what it takes to study abroad.

Can You Study Abroad as a DACA Recipient? 

DACA recipients can travel abroad for a short period of time. However, it is subject to some conditions. For example, recipients must apply for permission to travel abroad through an “Advanced Parole” or “Travel Authorization” procedure. With this, they can leave the country and return without terminating their status.

The I-131 Application for Travel Document lets DACA students travel abroad and return. The reasons include: 

  • Education.
  • Employment.
  • Humanitarian effort.
  • Health reasons.

Approximately 1.8 million people are eligible for DACA. But as of March 2020, a little over 800,000 were enrolled. As a result, the process is long and exhausting. To apply, you must complete Form I-821D and Form I-765. Furthermore, the process requires you to meet with an education abroad advisor, an immigration attorney, and more.

Hence, we recommend you prepare in advance. One way to do this is to read research articles and find more DACA essays that shed light on the process. A well-written DACA essay includes research on the program, its importance, and its effect. If you need some inspiration, these essay examples will help.

DACA recipients can only leave the country for important public benefits. Hence, even with travel authorization, a recipient cannot leave for just any reason. The travel authorization maintains their status, and traveling without it ends their DACA status automatically.

DACA Travel Authorization Eligibility 

DACA travel authorization extends to traveling to support the national security interests of the U.S. of federal law enforcement. Apart from this, traveling to support the health and safety of an immediate relative, especially a minor. In addition, a trip to get medical help that cannot be obtained while in the United States. Hence, we recommend you gather enough evidence to prove the need to travel. Pay attention to the following requirements to ascertain your eligibility: 

  • Students must have entered the United States unlawfully before their 16th birthday. 
  • Lived continuously in the country since June 15, 2007. 
  • Not born later than June 16, 1981. Plus, they must have had no lawful status as of June 15, 2012. 
  • Not convicted of a felony, a serious misdemeanor, or pose a threat to national security. 
  • Have completed high school or a GED. 
  • Enrolled in school or honorably discharged from the armed forces. 

How to Apply to Study Abroad?

Follow these steps to study abroad: 

  • Attend a workshop or view a webinar on advance parole. 
  • Meet with undocumented student programs staff to cover deadlines, timeliness, costs, and expectations. 
  • Notify your education abroad office that you are a DACA recipient to expedite acceptance or rejection notification. 
  • Apply to education abroad programs and complete an application workshop specific to your program type. 
  •  Begin the advanced parole process immediately after you are accepted into an education abroad program. 
  • Complete the advance parole application no later than seven months from the departure date and send it to an immigration attorney.
  • Submit it to the USCIS after review by the Immigrant Legal Service Center no later than six months from the departure date. 


Students can leave the United States with DACA, but only with a travel authorization or advance parole. It allows DACA recipients to take a trip abroad for good reasons, including education. But be careful and avoid traveling until you get approval. If not, you will lose your status and be denied entry when you return. All you have to do is prove to the USCIS that you need to travel for a semester abroad program or academic research to obtain the permit.