Coronavirus (COVID-19): The safety and well-being of our students is our top priority. Please see current information and updates related to study abroad programs. Berkeley Study Abroad is currently offering virtual services. Please see our Advising Guide for more information.

I am an...Undocumented Student

This page is meant to guide undocumented students through the thought and planning process for study abroad.  It does not replace the critical need for consultation with immigration attorneys and the Undocumented Student Program office.  We also invite students to have an in-depth conversation with a Berkeley Study Abroad adviser about their plans after they have consulted with East Bay Community Law Center (or other immigration attorney) and the Undocumented Student Program office.

Can I apply?

The Berkeley Study Abroad office welcomes applications from all students, regardless of country of origin or immigration status. However, due to the high risks involved and the rapid changes affecting immigration policies, it is critical for undocumented students to seek advice from an immigration attorney and the Undocumented Student Program office before proceeding with any plans to go abroad.

What is needed in order to study abroad?

In addition to following all application and pre-departure processeses needed for the program, undocumented students should also be aware of additional documentation that is related to their entry and exit of both the United States and the country of destination.

An undocumented student participating in in-person study abroad programs must have:

  • Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) status or Temporary Protected Status (TPS): Valid DACA or TPS status that covers the entire duration of their intended program abroad. There have been instances where a host country’s consulate also requires a student’s DACA or TPS status to be valid for an extended period of time (sometimes 6 months) beyond the end date of the program. It is important to consider the validity period of your current DACA or TPS and how that works or conflicts with the requirements.
  • Advance Parole: Advance Parole (USCIS Form I-131) is a travel document issued by United States Citizenship and Immigration Services. This document is needed to allow the recipient the ability to return to the United States at discretion. One must have a confirmed Advance Parole before going abroad and the application and approval process typically takes 3 months or longer. For undocumented students, a valid DACA or TPS is a part of the requirement for applying for Advance Parole. 
    Please note: The AP process may require confirmed program dates or a program acceptance letter. Berkeley Study Abroad staff are committed to supporting you and can work with you to process early admissions for your selected program. Please contact our office for further assistance and support.
  • Visa: Depending on the length of the study abroad program, destination, and the passport you hold, a visa for entrance into your study abroad destination may be required.
What alternative options can I consider?

There are select Berkeley Study Abroad options through Global Internships that are offered domestically.  

Additionally, select programs are offered remotely for 2022.  Those who wish to engage in an international, or study away education opportunity, but cannot or may not feel comfortable with traveling abroad may want to consider these options.  

  • Global Internships: The Berkeley Global Internships Program offers academic, project-based internships in several domestic and international locations worldwide.  Students who are advised to avoid travel across international borders may also wish to consider study away options within the United States. Domestic, in-person Global Internships programs are available in Atlanta, Boston, Los Angeles, San Francisco/Bay Area, and New York. In addition, the Global Internships Program is offered virtually in four regional locations including the Domestic U.S., Asia, Europe, and Latin/South Americas.

In addition to Berkeley Study Abroad programs, we also encourage students to consider other study away programs.  

Can I receive financial aid?

Yes! Students who complete the CA Dream Act application can receive financial aid to apply towards their budget for UCEAP, Berkeley Summer Abroad and Global Internships programs. Students with financial need are also automatically considered for the Berkeley Study Abroad Scholarship for select BSA programs.

The financial aid year at UC Berkeley includes the fall, spring and summer term in sequence. This means if a student intends to receive funding for participation in a summer 2022 program, they must apply for the FAFSA/ CA Dream Act application for 2021-22.

What resources are available?

There are special precautions and planning that is involved when going overseas as an undocumented person. It is critical that students make careful and informed decisions about their plans to travel and go abroad. A student should discuss their thoughts and plans with the East Bay Community Law Center (or their own immigration attorney), the Undocumented Student Program office, the Berkeley Study Abroad office and their family members and/or support network. There are many resources to assist you in making an informed choice.