Where Can DACA Recipients Travel?

Updated on April 10, 2024

As a DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) recipient, you may have questions about your ability to travel both within and outside the United States. While DACA provides certain protections and benefits, it’s essential to understand the travel restrictions and requirements that apply to your unique situation.

30 Second Recap:

DACA recipients can travel freely within the U.S., but international travel requires Advance Parole, obtained by filing Form I-131 and providing supporting evidence. Advance Parole allows travel for educational, employment, or humanitarian purposes, but carries risks such as potential denial of re-entry. Consult with an immigration attorney before making international travel plans to assess risks and ensure proper documentation.

Domestic Travel for DACA Recipients

DACA recipients are generally permitted to travel freely within the United States, including to U.S. territories like Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. When traveling domestically, it’s recommended to carry your valid, unexpired Employment Authorization Document (EAD) and a government-issued photo ID, such as a driver’s license or state ID card.

International Travel for DACA Recipients

Traveling outside the United States as a DACA recipient is more complex and requires advance planning. To travel abroad and re-enter the U.S., you must apply for and be granted Advance Parole by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Advance Parole is a travel document that allows you to leave the country for specific reasons, such as:

  1. Educational purposes, like studying abroad or attending academic conferences
  2. Employment purposes, such as overseas business trips or training
  3. Humanitarian purposes, including visiting ill family members or attending funerals

To apply for Advance Parole, you must file Form I-131, Application for Travel Document, and provide supporting evidence for your travel purpose. It’s crucial to wait for USCIS to approve your Advance Parole application before making any travel arrangements, as the processing time can take several months.

Risks of International Travel with DACA

Even with Advance Parole, traveling abroad as a DACA recipient carries certain risks:

  1. Re-entry to the U.S. is not guaranteed, as border officials have the discretion to deny entry to any non-citizen.
  2. If your DACA status expires while you are abroad, you may not be able to re-enter the U.S.
  3. Changes in immigration policies or the DACA program could affect your ability to travel or re-enter the country.

It’s essential to consult with an experienced immigration attorney before making any international travel plans to assess the potential risks and ensure you have the necessary documentation.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Can DACA recipients go on a cruise?

DACA recipients can go on a cruise that departs from and returns to a U.S. port without requiring Advance Parole. However, if the cruise includes stops in foreign ports, DACA recipients must obtain Advance Parole before the trip to ensure they can re-enter the U.S. It’s important to note that some cruise lines may have their own requirements for non-citizen passengers, so it’s best to check with the cruise line directly.

Can DACA recipients travel to Puerto Rico?

Yes, DACA recipients can travel to Puerto Rico without needing Advance Parole, as Puerto Rico is a U.S. territory. However, it’s still recommended to carry your valid EAD and government-issued photo ID when traveling.

Can DACA recipients travel to Mexico?

DACA recipients can travel to Mexico, but they must obtain Advance Parole before leaving the United States. It’s important to apply for Advance Parole well in advance of your planned trip and to wait for USCIS approval before making travel arrangements. Keep in mind that having Advance Parole does not guarantee re-entry to the U.S., and it’s crucial to assess the potential risks with an immigration attorney before traveling.

Final Thoughts

While DACA recipients can generally travel freely within the United States, international travel requires Advance Parole and carries certain risks. By understanding the travel options and restrictions, and carefully planning any trips abroad, DACA recipients can make informed decisions about exploring the world while maintaining their status and protecting their future in the United States.

I agree to have my personal information transfered to MailChimp ( more information )
Join over 100,000 visitors who are receiving our newsletter and learn more about finance, immigration, and more!
We hate spam. Your email address will not be sold or shared with anyone else.

Frank Gogol

I’m a firm believer that information is the key to financial freedom. On the Stilt Blog, I write about the complex topics — like finance, immigration, and technology — to help immigrants make the most of their lives in the U.S. Our content and brand have been featured in Forbes, TechCrunch, VentureBeat, and more.

Get the Checklist