What is the Travel Policy for DACA Recipients?

Posted On: February 6, 2013

Once you are approved under Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) can you legally travel outside of the United States? This is one of the many questions being asked about the DACA process. The answer is yes, but it is restricted and can be risky! After DACA approval you must apply and receive advance parole from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) using Form I-131, Application for Travel Document ($360 filing fee) for any foreign travel.

USCIS normally only grants advance parole for foreign travel under the following reasons; Humanitarian purposes, Educational purposes and Employment purposes. Vacation travel is not considered a valid reason. Please note that your Deferred Action will be dismissed automatically if you travel outside the U.S. without receiving advance parole!

If you were ordered deported or removed before you were granted Deferred Action you need to clear that up before traveling even if you have already been approved for advance parole. Before you actually leave the U.S., you should seek to reopen your case with the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) and obtain administrative closure or termination of your removal proceeding. If you do not receive closure or termination before leaving this country you could be considered deported or removed and your Deferred Action terminated. Simply, you would not be allowed to return to the United States!

If you have been granted Deferred Action under DACA travel outside of the U.S. is restricted but possible. It is a risk but if done properly you can mitigate that risk.

For more information on this subject, review the following links:
- USCIS FAQs on DACA, specifically category on Travel, Question #3
- USCIS web page on the DACA process, specifically the Travel information

Article on the subject:
- “Will USCIS Develop Fair, Humane Travel Policies for DACA Recipients?