Maybe! Individuals who have been granted deferred action, or DACA, cannot travel with just the work authorization card they received when their DACA was approved. If you leave the United States with just your employment card and your DACA approval, you are essentially deporting yourself. You will not be allowed back in to the country.
However, DACA recipients are eligible to apply for a special travel document, called an advance parole document. The application form is Form I-131, and there are special instructions for DACA recipients to follow.
When Will Immigration Approve A Travel Document for a DACA Recipient?
Generally, U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services will only grant an advance parole document for a DACA recipient for educational, employment, or humanitarian reasons.
What Qualifies as Educational and Employment Reasons?
Immigration Services could grant you an advance parole document to attend a study abroad program or do academic research for your school, for example, or to attend a conference or training abroad for your work.
What Qualifies as a Humanitarian Reason?
In general, if you are traveling to receive medical treatment, to visit a relative who is ill, or to attend the funeral of a family member, it will probably qualify as humanitarian reasons.
What about a vacation?
Sorry! Traveling for vacation purposes does not generally qualify for advance parole.
What Evidence Do I Have to Show to Qualify for A Travel Document?
When you are applying for advance parole, you must submit evidence of your DACA status and evidence of the reasons for your trip. In a few examples, this could be a letter and academic records from your school, a letter and the conference training materials from your employer, or medical records and birth certificates to show your family relationship to an ill relative abroad.
Are There Any Risks to Traveling Abroad If I Have DACA?
YES. There can be risks to traveling abroad for people who have certain immigration or criminal histories, even if they have already been approved for DACA. Even with an advance parole document, a DACA recipient is not guaranteed to be allowed entry into the United States again. For this reason, it is a good idea to consult an immigration attorney prior to deciding to travel.
Whether traveling with an advance parole document is a good idea for a DACA recipient or not varies from case to case. If you have any questions or concerns about applying for a travel document or traveling abroad in general, we encourage you to do a free consultation with one of our attorneys.