Can people with DACA status travel outside the US?

Traveling outside the country with DACA is a possibility for educational, work, and humanitarian reasons. Learn how to start the process.

The DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) program was implemented in 2012. Since 2017, it has faced various changes, such as the disqualification of the program, its reinstatement, and currently, a declaration of illegality by a judge in Texas.

This situation has made it impossible to process new applications to the program, only allowing the entry of new documentation and all renewal procedures. The 700,000 people who belong to this humanitarian program are awaiting a positive resolution that allows them to maintain DACA benefits.

Although being part of the program does not grant the same benefits as a residency and much less than citizenship, it has advantages for dreamers. For example, the ability to legally work, protection against deportation, as well as the possibility of traveling outside the country with DACA, through a special permit.

How to travel outside the United States with DACA

This program created for 'Dreamers' (immigrants who arrived illegally during their childhood), offers a possibility to travel outside the country with DACA. The reasons for accessing this benefit may be work-related, educational, and humanitarian, during the term of your affiliation. Vacations are not considered.

The process is carried out through the Advance Parole (advance re-entry permit), usually used by people in the process of residency. The document is issued by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS).

To request this permission, DACA status must be current. If you are currently undergoing a DACA renewal process, you will not be able to leave the country. Other relevant aspects to be able to travel outside the United States with DACA are:

  • Have a valid and current passport from the country of origin.
  • Meet one of these reasons for traveling abroad:

Educational Purposes: Study abroad programs or academic research.

Employment purposes: Employer assignments, conferences, trainings, interviews, or meetings.

Humanitarian purposes: medical treatment, visiting a sick relative, or attending a relative's funeral.

If your reason does not fall within these reasons, it is advisable to seek legal advice.

The process to apply for Advance Parole

To start this process, you must prepare a cover letter, in which you explain the purpose of the trip outside the country with DACA and summarize the forms and verification documents that will be presented.

The next step is to fill out Form I-131, Application for Travel Document. On the page of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), you will find the form and a guide to fill it out.

You must include a statement explaining the reason for the trip, along with the necessary evidence to justify it. Additionally, submit the following documents:

  • Copy of the most recent DACA Approval Notice (Form I-797)
  • Copy of employment authorization
  • Two passport-size photos

How to prove the reason for my trip

In case of requesting the trip for educational reasons, we recommend that you present the following documents:

  • Curriculum
  • Letter of enrollment or acceptance to the course or to the institution
  • Course description letter, issued by the institution
  • Letters of recommendation or validation from professors

If you will travel for employment reasons, enter this documentation:

  • Letter from the employer specifying the assignment and need for it.
  • In case of a conference or training, it is essential to have a confirmation of registration or request to present as a speaker.
  • In case of an interview or meeting, you must present emails, letters or documentation that validates it.

For humanitarian reasons, it is advisable to present one of these papers:

  • Official documentation that demonstrates the need for medical treatment.
  • In case a sick family member is visited, present a letter from the medical institution that validates the situation.
  • Declaration of the applicant explaining the reason for the trip outside the country with DACA.
  • Statement from the family member explaining the need for the trip.
  • Copy of identification of the sick family member.
  • A Birth certificate that proves the relationship with the patient.
  • Death certificate, in case of attending a funeral.

How much are the filing fees?

The cost to complete this process is $660 USD ($575 filing fee and $85 for biometric services). Payment can be made by personal or cashier's check, by mail, or by credit card. For this last option, you must enter Form G-1450, Credit Card Transaction Authorization.

If you require financial support to obtain the money for this procedure, we recommend you learn about our financial solutions.

The process of requesting travel outside the country with DACA must be done via postal mail, to the address specified on the USCIS page. It is recommended to start the process more than six months in advance (in case it is not an emergency trip). And if your situation is different from the cases mentioned in the text, we recommend getting specialized legal advice.