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Diversity & Inclusivity in Study Abroad

Diversity & Inclusivity

DACA: DEFERRED ACTION FOR CHILDHOOD ARRIVALS AND STUDY ABROAD

Cal Poly International Center & DACA

The Cal Poly San Luis Obispo International Center seeks to guide all students wishing to pursue an international experience during college. Students who are recipients of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA students) may be able to study abroad with Advance Parole. The information contained herein is not intended to constitute as legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. The process requires a few extra steps and we encourage students with DACA to meet with a study abroad advisor as early as possible.

"DACAmented" Defined 

“DACAmented” refers to someone who has successfully applied for DACA and is in possession of a federally-issued employment authorization card. Additionally, 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 many employment, humanitarian and educational reasons, including potentially studying abroad on approved university programs, using a travel document known as Advance Parole.

Important: Undocumented students who do not qualify for DACA are advised strongly against applying for advance parole as studying abroad/leaving the country will result in them being unable to re-enter the U.S.

DACA Students & Study Abroad

The Department of Homeland Security has stated that it will accept applications for Advance Parole for "education, humanitarian and work purposes" for individuals who have been granted Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). This process is complicated, and we strongly encourage students to seek counsel with an immigration attorney before considering this as an option. 

Within this context, “parole” is synonymous with “permission”. Upon returning to the United States with advance parole, a DACA recipient would be considered an "applicant for admission" and could still be subject to removal proceedings based upon grounds of inadmissibility, notwithstanding the prior grant of parole. In other words, a DACAmented student is applying for permission to exit and then re-enter the United States for the reasons indicated below. The decision to let you back into the U.S. is left to the discretion of the U.S. immigration officer at the port of entry.

USCIS will ordinarily grant Advance Parole if travel abroad will be for:

-Educational purposes, such as semester abroad programs or academic research;
-Employment purposes, such as overseas assignments, interviews, conferences, training, or meetings with clients; or
-Humanitarian purposes, such as travel to obtain medical treatment, attend funeral services for a family member, or visit an ailing relative.

While many DACA recipients have been able to leave and re-enter the country using Advance Parole successfully, due to the risks that may be associated with leaving and re-entering the United States, length of program, financial responsibility policies, an individual’s circumstances and visa restrictions, there are a number of factors that an individual should consider with legal counsel before moving forward with any study abroad program.

Based on our experiences working with students who have successfully used Advance Parole, we recommend the following:
  1. Refer to the US Citizen and Immigration Services (USCIS) webpage for most up to date information on DACA and the advance parole process
  2. Confirm whether or not you will be able to obtain a passport from their country of origin.
  3. Consider the timeline for the DACA renewal process if your DACA status requires renewal prior to or during your anticipated study abroad program.
  4. Consult legal counsel of your own choosing if you decides to apply for Advance Parole. 
  5. Consider all, both best and worst, case scenarios. For example the consequences of a change in administration while abroad. 
  6. Discuss your choice with family and loved ones. 
Once students have discussed their individual circumstances with legal counsel, they should:
  1. Research programs on the Study Abroad website to determine academic relevance and program eligibility for country-specific information. 
  2. After they have narrowed their choices to a region or program, then they should meet with a Study Abroad Advisor to discuss the application process, university compliance procedures, costs and visas.
The International Center cannot guarantee re-entry back into the United States, even though students are participating in an approved Cal Poly study abroad program.  

Determine the application timeline for DACA renewal (if applicable) or seeking an Advance Parole and how it aligns with program deadlines/deposits.

Important: Undocumented students who do not qualify for DACA are advised strongly against applying for advance parole, due to the risks associated with leaving as studying abroad/leaving the country will result in them being unable to re-enter the U.S.
Types of Study Abroad Programs at Cal Poly

Advance Parole Application

Before any student moves forward with an application for Advance Parole, s/he should know already which program s/he would like to apply to, or be admitted into the study abroad program of his or her choice. Student applicants may not be granted an Advance Parole travel document without sufficient documentation to prove their intentions to temporarily leave and re-enter the United States. Again, students should consult with experienced immigration counsel with questions or to obtain legal advice. This information is not intended to constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon as such.

Please visit the USCIS website for most up to date information.

Please contact Erica Jorgenson, Study Abroad Advisor at ejorgens@calpoly.edu for a recommended checklist for your Advance Parole Application.

Considerations for Students and Study Abroad Staff

While it is the goal of the International Center at Cal Poly to support all Cal Poly students, it is important to note that the International Center cannot guarantee re-entry back into the United States, even though students are participating in an approved Cal Poly study abroad program. This information is not intended to constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon as such.

Other things to consider are:
  1. Program Deadlines/timelines (consult with Study Abroad Advisors):
    • Application and participation timelines may be concurrent with Advance Parole timelines.
    • There may be additional costs incurred at different stages of the program application process.
    • Financial Responsibility timelines may be concurrent with Advance Parole timelines, leaving the student financially liable for the program in the case of denial.
  2. Advance Parole timelines (consult with legal counsel):
    • Advance Parole applications can take up to 90 Days to be approved.
    • May not align with Study Abroad timelines for payments and compliance forms.
    • Advance Parole is only valid for a specific amount of time.
  3. Re-entry (consult with legal counsel):
    • Advance Parole does not guarantee re-entry into the United States.
    • DACA students will be subject to secondary review at the port of entry into the United States, by Customs and Border Protection.
    • There may be pre-existing reasons why a DACAmented individual may not be allowed to re-enter, which is why it’s imperative they consult legal counsel prior to the Advance Parole application.
  4. Costs (consult with Study Abroad staff & legal counsel):
    • Flights – Every student must purchase a flight to their intended country of travel. It’s important to be cognizant of the transit policies for any lay-overs, connections or missed connections. Students should also consider purchasing a refundable airline ticket in case adjustments need to be made for flights.
    • There may be costs associated with country-specific travel visas.
    • There will be costs and/or deposits associated with a study abroad program.
    • There will be costs associated with your DACA & Advance Parole applications.
    • If the Advance Parole application is denied, students run the risk of being financially liable for a program they may not ultimately participate in.
Additional Outside Resources