Traveling outside the United States as a DACA recipient can be complicated and risky. However, with careful planning and directions from an immigration lawyer, it’s possible for a DACA recipient to travel abroad and return safely to the United States.

If you plan to travel outside of the county as a DACA recipient, it’s important to plan the trip ahead to make sure you do not run into any unwanted issues when you try to re-enter. Please note that a DACA recipient who travels outside the country without a travel authorization document (advance parole) will lose his or her DACA status, and may not be admitted back into the country.

Other articles on the topic,

Here is a guide for a current DACA recipient who is planning on traveling outside of the county.

Consult with an immigration attorney: DACA program prevents the recipient from being put into a removal proceeding or from being deported. However, it’s important to note that it does not afford an immigration status like a permanent residency or citizenship or a travel privilege like a green card or a visa.

Therefore, if you travel outside the country as a DACA recipient, you may be denied re-entry after your trip. It’s imperative that you are aware of potential risks and limitations you may be faced with when you decide to travel as a DACA recipient. This is why it’s advisable to consult with an immigration attorney before you travel outside the country.

Apply for advance parole: After you have applied for and are granted DACA status, you may travel outside the United States only if you received advance parole from the USCIS. If you are a DACA recipient who traveled outside the country after June 15th, 2012 without advance parole (travel authorization), you will automatically lose your DACA status and may be denied re-entry back to the U.S. You can apply for advance parole by filing Form I-131 by paying appropriate fees and submitting any necessary supporting documents.

According to the USCIS, the processing time for advance parole can vary depending on the individual case and the workload of the agency. It may take anywhere from a few months to a much longer time for USCIS to process your advance parole document, therefore it’s important to apply ahead if you plan to travel outside the country.

The USCIS will approve advance parole only for limited travel purposes like humanitarian reasons, educational reasons, or employment reasons. Some reasons to apply for advance parole include a trip to see an ailing relative, obtain medical treatment, attend a work-related conference, complete a study abroad program, etc.

Return before the parole period expires: If your international travel exceeds the number of days you are allowed under the advance parole, that automatically terminates your deferred action under the DACA program. It’s extremely important that you plan your return to the U.S. several days before the expiration of the advance parole, this will help prevent any complications which may arise due to travel delays or other unforeseen circumstances.

Make sure you have a valid passport: You are required to have a valid passport along with other necessary documents to travel internationally. Most countries and airline carriers require that your passport is valid for additional six months beyond your travel dates. It’s important to note that while a valid passport is necessary to travel outside the country, it will not guarantee re-entry into the country. It’s advisable that you carry your DACA documents along with the advance parole document, and present them along with your passport at the port of entry. Your re-entry back into the U.S. depends on the discretion of the CBP officer you encounter at the port of entry, regardless of whether you have a valid passport and advance parole.

Understand the risks: Please understand that the advance parole does not afford you any immigration status, it only gives you permission to re-enter the country after your international travels. There are several risks in traveling outside the country as a DACA recipient even if you have an advance parole document.

First, leaving the United States even with the advance parole does not guarantee you may be paroled back into the country. A Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officer at the port of entry has the discretion to deny your request for parole back into the country.

Second, if your advance parole is revoked or terminated while you are outside the country, such revocation or termination will prevent you from returning back to the U.S. unless you can present other travel documents or a visa.

OKC Immigration Attorney: Oklahoma Immigration Lawyer for DACA recipients

Traveling internationally while under the DACA program can be confusing, nerve-wracking, and flat-out frightening. Given the current political climate and uncertainties of the DACA program, it’s advisable to consult with an immigration attorney before you make international travel arrangements. If you are a DACA recipient and would like to apply for advance parole or would like to know your options regarding international travel, please contact Niroula Law. You can reach us by calling our office at (405) 456-9250, or by filling out the Contact Us Form.