Can I Travel Out of the Country for Spring Break with DACA?
Can DACA Recipients Travel Internationally?
In the months of March and April, thousands of college students throughout Texas, including University of Houston, Lonestar College, Houston Community College, Rice University, Texas Southern and several others will be out of school for Spring Break.
Traditionally, students across the U.S. take advantage of this break from school to travel internationally; however, this is not always an option for DACA recipients or "dreamers".
DACA and Houston Colleges
Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals or DACA is an immigration benefit created by a 2012 executive order, which allows undocumented immigrants, who were under age 31 as of June 15, 2012, who came to the U.S. when they were younger than 16, and meet other specific requirements reside and work in the country legally for two years.
While the recipients DACA status is valid, the individual may not be removed from the U.S.
Many DACA recipients or dreamers have waited years to obtain some semblance of a normal life. Finally, with DACA they can obtain work authorization, receive a driver's license, and enroll in higher education. However, it is important for DACA recipients to recognize DACA's limitations.
You Need Permission to Travel Internationally with DACA
DACA allows recipients to work and reside in the United States legally; however, it does not grant an individual lawful status. Unlike other individuals with lawful status (i.e. lawful permanent residents or green card holders), DACA recipients cannot travel internationally without requesting permission from the U.S. government or advance parole.
Advanced parole is a discretionary form of immigration relief, which allows certain individuals without lawful status or a valid visa to reenter the U.S. after traveling abroad. A DACA recipient, who wishes to travel internationally, must request advanced parole and receive approval before leaving the country.
Advanced parole can be granted for a variety of reasons, including educational, humanitarian, and emergency travel.
It is important to understand that advanced parole is a discretionary form of relief, meaning USCIS is not required to grant relief just because an applicant requests it. An application for advanced parole must be accompanied with sufficient documentation proving he or she deserves it.
Immigration Attorney for Houston College Students
If you are a prospective or current college student with DACA or other immigrant status, it is highly recommended to consult an experienced immigration attorney before any Spring Break vacation, study abroad, and any international trips.
Tatiauna Holland of the Holland Law Firm, PLLC is an experienced immigration attorney who helps students throughout Houston, The Woodlands, Conroe, Sugar Land, Stafford, Huntsville, or surrounding areas apply for initial DACA, renew their DACA status, apply for visitor and tourist visas, and more.
With offices in Houston and The Woodlands, the Holland Law Firm, PLLC is prepared to address all of your immigration law needs. Contact our offices at (936) 539-6882 to schedule a confidential consultation.