If you’re a DACA student like myself and you’ve been dreaming about the possibility of studying abroad but didn’t think it was possible, I’m happy to inform you that now you can.
I was working as a bartender at a dive bar in my hometown a couple years ago, when a customer who was an immigrant lawyer came into the bar one afternoon and after engaging in conversation he told me the good news. I was stunned! I couldn’t believe I was going to be able to finally travel abroad after 8 years.
It had always been my dream to study abroad. Over the years I heard many stories from students who had come back from taking classes in countries like London, Spain or France, and it made me sad not to be able to experience that myself.
Tuition for studying abroad is the same as the tuition you pay at SFSU. Whether you pay in full each semester or you get financial aid, classes abroad should not cost more of what you normally pay.
What you do have to pay EXTRA as a DACA student is the application to obtain an Advance Parole, a permission for certain aliens, who do not have a valid immigrant visa, to re-enter the United States after traveling abroad. The application you need to fill out and send is called the form I-131, Application for Travel Document. The filling fee for the Advance Parole is $360.
Make sure your Deferred Action request is been approved before trying to travel abroad for Educational Purposes. Here’s the information you can find in the website:
Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals: You cannot apply for advance parole while your request for deferred action is still pending. If you leave the United States while your request for consideration of deferred action is pending, your deferred action request will be denied.
Once USCIS approves your request for consideration of deferred action, you may file Form I-131 to request advance parole to travel outside of the United States. If you travel outside the United States without first receiving advance parole, USCIS will automatically terminate your deferred action. You must submit Form I-131 with specific documentation depending on the agency that deferred action in your case. If USCIS deferred action in your case, submit a copy of your Form I-797, Notice of Action. If U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) deferred action in your case, submit a copy of the ICE order, notice, or letter. USCIS will only grant advance parole if your travel abroad will be for educational, employment, or humanitarian purposes. You must indicate the purpose on the Form I-131 as described below:
- 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.
Travel for vacation is not a valid purpose.
You may not file Form I-131 online. Please check the Direct Filing Addresses for Form I-131 for information on where to mail your application.
For additional information about travel outside the United States and filing for advance parole, read Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals: Travel Documents.
For more details on my experience filling for an Travel Advance Parole read my next article Things you need to know when filling for an Advance Parole