DACA Students Considering Off-Campus Study

DACA students considering off-campus study, either foreign or domestic, should consult with Amherst's general counsel at least three months in advance of traveling.

DACA students who are interested in studying abroad need to obtain the Advance Parole document that permits entry into the U.S. after spending the semester overseas. Having the Advance Parole document, however, does not guarantee entry into the U.S. and students need to carefully consider the risks. It is strongly recommended that DACA students consult with an attorney if they are considering a semester or year abroad.

Please contact the Office of Student Affairs for local immigration attorney references. Please note that if a DACA student chooses to file an application for Advance Parole for an approved study abroad program, the Office of Student Affairs may be able to provide financial assistance in filing. Students should contact the Office of Student Affairs directly.

A note for DACA students considering travel to Puerto Rico

We advise that students consult an immigration attorney prior to the proposed travel, to inquire about risks related to re-entry as well as potential risks to later DACA renewals.

Currently, as of February 2019:

  • It is lawful for people with valid DACA status to travel to Puerto Rico and return. Advice: take your DACA paperwork and passport and make sure to keep records of your itinerary and pertinent study-related documents with you in your carry-on.
  • Study providers in Puerto Rico report having people with valid DACA status successfully complete their program and return to the US without known issues.
  • People with valid DACA status should not take any excursions or trips outside of Puerto Rico, even on study-related business, if it would constitute travel to another country. This includes selecting direct flights, only, between the US and Puerto Rico, NOT transiting through another country en route in either direction.

Potential Risk:

  • USCIS has sometimes flagged travel to Puerto Rico as "travel abroad," which can cause issues at the time of DACA renewal. This can (usually) be solved with the help of an immigration attorney.
  • Issues beyond your control may cause emergency travel to another country: extreme weather evacuations, unexpected airplane re-routing, etc.
Additional Resources

DACA (including DACA-eligible) and undocumented students may also want to consider a semester at another U.S. institution. Domestic study is an excellent way to experience a different academic culture and the Study Abroad Office can assist students in finding a college or university that offers regional cultural differences that would enhance the student's educational experience.