Can DACA Recipients Travel?

Can DACA Recipients Travel?

As a DACA recipient, you get to have a few benefits in the United States. Along with having the ability to work and earn a livelihood, the freedom to travel abroad anywhere must be exhilarating. The ability to apply for a DACA travel permit is not entirely impossible, it can work in your favor if you satisfy a few requirements. With this article, you can find out all the information on how can DACA recipients travel abroad, what are the necessary documents needed to travel abroad, and for how long can you travel.

Can DACA Recipients Travel?

All the immigrants that have applied for DACA in the past few years would have the opportunity to travel abroad for a short period only. As per the federal court judgment made on December 4, 2020, certain DACA recipients can travel abroad for humanitarian reasons, educational reasons, or for public benefit. Any other reason, whatsoever, will not help you leave the country.

So, how can DACA recipients travel?

For a DACA recipient to travel abroad, they need to apply for a travel permit which is otherwise known as Advance Parole. With all due thanks to the federal court judgment, the DACA recipients can leave and return to the United States lawfully. Based on this decision, the USCIS has started to accept travel permits made by DACA recipients, and they only process the requests for those who qualify for the travel permit. By applying for a travel permit, One can safely travel without having to lose one’s immigrant status in the United States. Although this shouldn’t be the case, we hope to have adequately answered the question “Can DACA Recipients Travel?”.

This travel permit, i.e., Form I-512L will be issued once the application is accepted by the USCIS. Upon returning to the United States, one can show this document to the US State Border. If you return to the United States before the visa expires, then you can lawfully enter the States. This travel permit only remains valid for 30-45 days only.

Can DACA Recipients Travel

Can DACA Recipients Travel: Major Restrictions Placed on DACA Recipients

As a DACA recipient, you have to renew your immigration every two years. During this course of time, you get to have some benefits like the ability to work for an employer or to apply for a driver’s license, or the ability to study. DACA recipients have to adhere to certain travel rules and restrictions to save their immigration status. They can travel within the United States, but they need to have their documents with them which clearly shows the deferred action status. To have a safe return to your residence, USCIS recommends you always carry a copy of your DACA status with you all the time in case you come across any inspection.

If you are traveling to any other location besides the USA or its territories, then you need to have a travel permit, i.e., an Advance Parole document. Traveling without authorization would risk their status, and they might end up completely losing their DACA status.

Salient Features of Being a DACA Recipient

As per the recent studies made by the Kaiser Family Foundation, more than 80% of the DACA recipients families have a full-time worker in their household. If they somehow relinquish their DACA status, they are targeted for deportation. Additionally, they won’t be able to work for any employer as they no longer have a valid work permit. These individuals will also not be able to provide for their families as they do not have any legal work and cannot apply for medical aid.

By applying for DACA, these individuals were able to get themselves a job along with other health benefits such as insurance and medical aid. The study also claims that almost half of the DACA recipients have completed their high school and are pursuing higher studies. And now, with the ability to apply for travel permits, many DACA recipients can travel abroad for education, public benefits, and humanitarian reasons.

How Can DACA Recipients Travel With Advance Parole Application?

The ability to apply for Advance Parole is very limited for DACA recipients when compared to green cardholders. DACA recipients cannot apply for Advance Parole for a vacation or a leisure trip, which is not the case for green cardholders. The DACA recipients who apply for advance parole can get legal entry into the USA. And if you have entered the USA legally, you can apply for a green card. Green cards also pave the way towards naturalization. DACA Advance parole is a stepping stone towards gaining legal citizenship.

Eligibility for Daca Recipients to Travel Abroad

All the DACA recipients can travel abroad if their situation adheres to the following conditions:

  • Employment reasons: Any employment reasons such as attending a work meeting, conference, assignments, projects, etc.
  • Educational reasons: Traveling abroad for academic reasons or for an assignment or project
  • Humanitarian reasons: Traveling abroad for medical assistance, visiting an elderly person or for attending the funeral of a deceased member of the family

To apply for Advance Parole, you should have valid proof with you to show USCIS that you aren’t just traveling for leisure purposes.

Apply for DACA Advance Parole

The entire application process to apply for DACA is rather simple if you have a valid reason for travel and have all the necessary supporting documents. Remember that your DACA application should be valid for you to apply for advance parole. The entire application process takes 6 months to complete if everything goes well.

Step 1: Pick a Reason to Apply for Advance Parole Application

As already mentioned, you can only travel abroad if your situation suits any of the above three conditions. You need to make sure that you are not traveling for leisure or on a vacation.

Step 2: Form I-131 Completion

Completion of the Application for Travel Document which is Form I-131 is absolutely pertinent. This form is provided by USCIS can be downloaded from the official USCIS website. Note that one cannot download this from any other website as one’s application form can get rejected if it is not the latest. The latest forms are only available on the official USCIS website.

This application form asks for major details such as the date of travel, the reason for travel, how long will you be gone, when do you plan to come back to the States, etc. Fill the application form with the most precise details and gather the necessary supporting documents.

  • A state-provided photo ID(at least 2 copies)
  • Recent passport size photographs(taken 30 days prior to filling the application)
  • Your DACA approved status or card
  • Document that proves the reason for your travel(EG: medical records, letter from employer, educational permission letters, etc.)

Remember that you do not have to share the originals with the USCIS unless and until you are asked to do so. As the documents are sent through the mail, you might end up losing the originals if the mailing services lose your package(Although this is a rare case, you better mail your documents using a faster and reliable service such as FedEx, Amazon Prime, or USPS).

Step 3: Pack the Documents and Pay the Fee

Once your documents are ready, it’s time to pack them. Make sure that all the documents and copies are secure. Do not staple the documents, i.e., always use a paperclip to assemble the documents. You have to pay the filing fee which is $575. This amount can be paid through purchasing a money order from the local post office or through a check. IF you want to pay the amount through credit, you need to file the application Form G-1450, Authorization for Credit Card Transactions.

Step 4: Mail the Application to the USCIS

Mail the application to the right address which one can find on the USCIS website. The mailing address varies depending on the current status. Thus, one needs to make sure that they are mailing the document to the right address.

Step 5: Accepting Your DACA Travel Permit

After the application form has been accepted, USCIS will take about 2-3 weeks before your travel document is mailed to your address. As the entire process can take 6 months more or less, make sure that you have applied for Advance Parole way ahead before your trip.

Risks of Traveling With DACA Status?

Traveling with a DACA status does have a few risks involved. The number one reason is that the application fee costs $575 which can be difficult to pay. The second reason is that this process does take a lot of time, which can even go beyond 6 months if necessary. During this entire course of time, you might be asked by USCIS to send additional supporting documents, or you might be called for an in-person inspection. This process is also risky as any discrepancies can lead to your application getting rejected. USCIS does not even consider refunds, irrespective of whatever happens with the application.

Another major risk is that you might be stopped by the Customs and Borders of the United States due to any major/minor reason. Although these scenarios are not as common as you think, it’s better to be cautious if you are taking such extreme steps.

Advance Parole Form

How Successful is DACA?

With the introduction of this program, there were more than 80,000 people who found temporary solace and hope to start a fresh life. Not only were these people saved from deportation, but also found a healthy work-life balance. According to the surveys conducted in recent years, almost all DACA recipients have made a significant contribution to American Society. They have been earning higher wages which leads to a better society and better economic growth. The DACA recipients have been working in medical fields, educational fields, emergency services, technical services, etc. Some even have started their businesses.

How Is the DACA Program Doing in Recent Times? What Impact Has It Had on Several Parts of the Economy?

Impact on Employment

After receiving the DACA status, %59 DACA recipients moved to a job with better pay, 5% of them created their businesses, 54% of people decided to move to a job that suits their long-term goals alongside their education and training.

Impact on the Earnings

DACA also had a great impact on the earnings of any individual. The hourly wages rose from $10.29 to $17.46. The studies also portray that the annual salary of an average DACA recipient is more than $40,000. A higher income isn’t just helping their families, but it also helps in developing the economy. These studies also show that the annual pay is going to increase in the following decades.

Impact on the Economy

All thanks to the higher wages, almost 65% of the DACA recipients have purchased their first cars and 16% purchased their dream homes. Another interesting point is that almost 72% of the DACA recipients got employed in top Fortune 500 companies such as Amazon, Wells Fargo, JP Morgan Chase, Apple, Walmart, etc.

Moving towards the question of can DACA recipients travel, they sure can, but there are a few limitations to their travel, unlike green card holders who have the permission to travel abroad for leisure purposes as well.

Can DACA Recipients Travel


Now that you have an answer to “Can DACA recipients travel?”, you can go apply for an Advance Parole at the earliest if your condition meets the necessary criteria. DACA has been of tremendous help to the America Nation and the undocumented immigrants who lived in the shadows of the country. With DACA, they found the pathway to lead better lives and reach for their goals. The question “Can DACA recipients Travel?” is incorrect because everyone deserves a chance to turn into their dream.

If you tend to look deeper into the impact this program had on American society, you will come across various stories which unfold their journeys. These stories speak of how they managed to stay afloat despite the government’s efforts to demonize this program. Although this program only provides temporary relief from deportation, it is indeed working well in their favor. So “Can DACA recipients Travel?” Well, the answer seems to be apparent, doesn’t it?

Hope you found all the bits of information that you were searching for in this article…

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ’s)

Can DACA recipients travel?

All DACA recipients are eligible to travel by applying for advance parole. The DACA recipients can only travel if they are traveling for educational, employment, or humanitarian reasons.

How can DACA recipients travel?

DACA recipients can travel by filing the form I-130 Application for Travel Document. They should have the necessary supporting documents and proof.

Can DACA recipients travel within the United States?

DACA recipients can travel within the United States but they always need to carry their valid DACA status with them at all times.

Can DACA recipients travel to Mexico in 2021?

Yes, DACA recipients can travel internationally with advance parole for particular reasons only.

Leave a Comment