Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA students) can and do study abroad at San Francisco State University!

Students in DACA status may study abroad with advance parole citing “educational purposes, such as semester abroad programs.” This will require additional planning, applying for advance parole, and awareness of potential risks. DACA students interested in leaving the country, including for educational purposes, should consult an immigration lawyer as well as SF State's AB 540 Coordinator.

Getting Started

  • Be aware of timelines for applying for advance parole and study abroad. Please meet with an SF State Abroad Advisor to discuss timelines.
  • Read about the experience of a DACA student studying abroad.
  • Consider the cost of advance parole of $360 to $445, which cannot be covered by financial aid, and must be obtained prior to departure.
  • Notice the dates of the advance parole and plan all travel accordingly.
  • Go through the process of researching and applying for a program and attend an information meeting.
  • Apply for scholarships. Fund for Education Abroad is open to DACA students.

AB 540 Coordinator at SF State: Griselda Madrigal Lara

SF State has a coordinator for AB 540 students. Griselda, who can be reached by email at drc@sfsu.edu, is a resource for study abroad, academics, finances, status, and much more.

Free Legal Resources

Immigrant Legal Defense is a free and confidential immigration legal consultant for all SF State students, faculty, staff, and their immediate family members. You can sign up here for their services or email drc@sfsu.edu

Applying for Advance Parole

The SF State Abroad Office is committed to supporting DACA students to study abroad and will be happy to discuss timelines. However, we are not immigration lawyers. Students are encouraged to consult immigration experts.

  • Complete Form I-131, Application for Travel Document, which can be found on the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services website.
  • Allow sufficient time for gathering documents and applying.

The AB 540 Coordinator has partnered with La Raza Legal Clinic to provide SF State students legal support. Students may sign up for 30-minute consultations to support students with DACA applications, Advance Parole, and any legal questions you may have. To schedule an appointment, email Griselda Madrigal Lara at drc@sfsu.edu. Please contact her if you have any questions. Make sure you bring any immigration paperwork including copies of your prior applications if applicable. Hope to see you there!

Potential Risks for DACA Students

There are a few potential concerns that we want to share, but this is not an exhaustive list as we are not immigration experts.

  • Return prior to the expiration of advance parole as failure may prevent a student’s ability to return.
  • Advance parole must be granted prior to departing the United States.
  • Immigration reform may take place while students are abroad that requires students to be physically present in the United States on a specific date or window of time.
  • Advance parole does not guarantee re-entry into the United State as, while unlikely, immigration officials may deny entry.
  • Discuss with an immigration expert prior to leaving if any,  but not limited to, the following issues: deportation/removal orders, immigration-related fraud, criminal convictions, and/or unauthorized departures from and reentries in the United States.

Additional Outside Resources