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 processes 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: Valid DACA 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 status to be valid for an extended period of time (sometimes 6 months) beyond the end date of the program. EBCLC highly recommends any student without permanent immigration status consult with an attorney before traveling internationally to prevent any complications. It is important to consider the validity period of your current DACA and how that works or conflicts with the requirements.
  • Advance Parole: Advance Parole (through USCIS Form I-131) is a travel document issued by United States Citizenship and Immigration Services. The recipient must have a confirmed Advance Parole before going abroad for the ability to return to the United States at discretion. Due to the USCIS processing timeline and impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, the processing period can be lengthy and must be taken into consideration when planning for study abroad. Processing times can also change quickly, without notice. For undocumented students, a valid DACA 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: Select countries may also require visa applicants to provide proof of ability to return to the US after the end of the program. This may mean that your approved Advance Parole will need to be in possession when applying for your student visa.
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 virtually 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.

What resources are available?

There are special precautions and planning that is involved when traveling or 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.


We also encourage you to read this Berkeley Story about Marlen B’s study abroad experience in France