FAQs

DACA

What is DACA?

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) is an immigration policy from 2012 that grants young, undocumented immigrants permission to stay and work in the U.S. temporarily.

Why was the U.S. Supreme Court involved with DACA?

In 2017, the Trump administration announced that DACA would be rescinded and no new applications would be approved. This resulted in legal challenges that made it to the U.S. Supreme Court.

What did the U.S. Supreme Court decide?

On June 18, 2020, the U.S. Supreme Court rejected the Trump administration’s effort to end DACA. The court said the administration had not followed the proper procedures when it rescinded the program.

But the fight is not over! The Trump administration can still attempt to end the program.

How does the U.S. Supreme Court decision affect DACA?

We expect the court ruling to restore DACA to its original state and open up the potential for:

  • Initial DACA applications
  • Continued DACA renewals
  • Advance parole (permission to travel abroad)

However, neither U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) or the Department of Homeland Security have said that they will start accepting initial applications for DACA or applications for advance parole.

Can I apply for DACA now?

People who haven’t ever had DACA should be able to apply. However, USCIS has not issued guidance on submitting new applications.

We highly recommend consulting with a legal representative before submitting a DACA application for the first time. Cal State LA students, staff, faculty and their family have access to free legal services through the DRC.

What are the risks of applying for DACA for the first time?

  • The Trump administration may attempt to rescind DACA again
  • USCIS would have your personal information

Can I apply for advance parole?

DACA recipients should be able to apply for permission to travel abroad through advance parole. However, USCIS and the Department of Homeland Security have not issued guidance on how they will comply with the Supreme Court decision and process advance parole applications.

We highly recommend consulting with a legal representative before applying for advance parole. Cal State LA students, staff, faculty and their relatives have access to free legal services through the DRC.

Documents you'll likely need:

  • DACA work permit
  • Passport
  • Proof of need to travel (educational, humanitarian, professional)
  • $575 application fee
  • 2 Passport-sized photos

What are the risks of advance parole?

  • Advance parole is discretionary, so USCIS might deny your application
  • The application fee is not refundable—even if your application is denied
  • With the COVID-19 pandemic, there are limitations and risks involved with travel
  • Given the state of DACA and a possible re-attempt at termination, USCIS might not process your application
  • You cannot travel until your application is approved and you have a travel document issued by USCIS
  • Re-entry is discretionary

Can I renew my DACA?

Yes, current DACA recipients can still renew.

Many applicants are submitting renewals before the 150-day filing window. Early submissions are being processed, but processing is often delayed.

If you previously had DACA, but more than a year has passed since your DACA expired, then you can file an initial DACA request.

Who is eligible for DACA?

Basic Eligibility Requirements:

  • Age: came to the United States before their 16th birthday; and was under 31 years of age as of June 15, 2012
  • Presence: was in the United States on June 15, 2012, with no lawful status and has continuously resided in the United States since June 15, 2007
  • Educational: is currently in school, has graduated/obtained a certificate of completion from high school, has obtained a General Educational Development (GED) certificate, or is an honorably discharged veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces or U.S. Coast Guard
  • Background: has not been convicted of a felony, a significant misdemeanor, or three or more misdemeanors, and does not otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety
  • Note: Applicant must be at least 15 years old to apply, or if younger than 15, must have previously been in removal or deportation proceedings or granted voluntary departure

How can I show proof of identity and age?

  • Birth certificate (+ photo ID)
  • Passport
  • Any national identity card 
  • School ID
  • Military ID
  • State ID/Driver’s license

How can I show proof of presence?

  • Examples of documents:
  • School records
  • Proof of entry date into the U.S. (passport, I-94, etc.) 
  • Medical records
  • Religious documents
  • Marriage/divorce certificates
  • Children's birth certificates
  • Paycheck stubs/employment records 
  • Rental agreements
  • Bills
  • Taxes
  • Bank statements
  • Certificates
  • Any other relevant documents

What if I have a criminal record?

Arrests for any crimes (except for traffic violations, unless drug or alcohol-related) must be documented. Examples of documents you might need:

  • Certified court dispositions for all cases that resulted in a charge
  • Certified copies of expungements
  • Letters from applicable courts stating no records were found

If you have a criminal record, make sure to get legal advice before submitting an application.

ASSEMBLY BILL 540

What is AB 540?

Assembly Bill 540 is a California law that makes it possible to exempt eligible students from paying nonresident enrollment fees and to allow them to pay in-state tuition.

Who qualifies for AB 540?

You are an AB 540 student, and exempt from paying nonresident enrollment fees, if you meet the following criteria:

  • Attended a high school (public or private) in California for three or more years, OR 
  • Attained credits earned in California from a California high school equivalent to three or more years of full-time high school course work and attended a combination of elementary, middle and/or high schools in California for a total of three or more years, OR 
  • Attended or attained credits at a combination of California high school, California adult school, and California community college for the equivalent of three years or more. 

AB 540 students may be:

  • Students who are U.S. citizens, but not California residents
  • Students who are undocumented

AB 540 students are not:

  • Students with a nonimmigrant visa status (U Visa and victims of sex trafficking may be eligible for AB 540 status)
  • Students "home-schooled" by a parent who does not hold a CA teacher credential
  • Students living out of state and enrolling in a private California "internet high school"

How do I apply for AB 540 nonresident tuition exemption?

To be considered for nonresident tuition exemption, students must complete, sign and submit the California Nonresident Tuition Exemption Request form to the Cal State LA Admissions Office. Official high school transcripts must be attached to the request in order to determine eligibility.

To learn more about residency determination at Cal State LA, please visit Admissions and Recruitment California Residency

What is the AB 540 affidavit?

The AB 540 affidavit refers to the request form for nonresident tuition exemption. In the case of the CSU, it would be the California Nonresident Tuition Exemption Request.

  • The affidavit states that the student will adjust their status as soon as they are eligible to do so.
  • Students are not required to submit a new affidavit when there is continuous enrollment.
  • The information on the affidavit is kept confidential, as required by law.

What does nonimmigrant mean?

Federal law defines nonimmigrant as anyone who has been admitted to the U.S. temporarily and has been granted one of the following visas: A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, K, L, M, N, O, P, Q, R, S, TN/TD, TWOV, and NATO.

Students with one of these visas are not eligible for AB 540. This does not apply to students with U or T visas.

A student whose visa has expired and is now “out of status” will be eligible for in-state tuition fees if they meet their state undocumented stated requirements.

Does applying for AB 540 affect my California Legal Residency?

AB 540 does NOT establish legal residency for immigrant students or for undocumented students who are eligible for AB 540. It only exempts students from paying nonresident fees. Undocumented students who have questions about their legal residency should consult an immigration attorney.

What else should I know about AB 540?

  • AB 540 does not apply to private colleges or universities, unless they decide to abide by the set requirements.
  • AB 540 does not grant legal residency to qualifying students.
  • AB 540 does not grant state or federal financial aid.
  • AB 540 only provides an exemption to the requirements of paying nonresident tuition for students who qualify.

What is AB 2000?

This is an expansion of AB 540. It increases the scope of eligibility for students who graduated early from a California high school with the equivalent of three or more years of credits. If a student graduates early, they must have attended California elementary or secondary schools for a cumulative total of three or more years.

CALIFORNIA DREAM ACT & FINANCIAL SUPPORT

What is the California Dream Act?

The California Dream Act allows eligible undocumented students to receive California state-sponsored financial aid. Authored by Assembly Member Gil Cedillo (Los Angeles), it became law in 2011 through the passage of two Assembly Bills, AB 130 and AB 131.

AB 130 allows students who meet AB 540 criteria to apply for and receive non-state-funded scholarships for public colleges and universities.

AB 131 allows students who meet AB 540 criteria to apply for and receive state-funded financial aid such as institutional grants, community college fee waivers, Cal Grant and Chafee Grant.

Learn more by visiting the California Student Aid Commission website on the California Dream Act

Who qualifies for the California Dream Act?

Students who live in California and meet the eligibility requirements for a nonresident tuition exemption, as well as students who have a U Visa or TPS status, may qualify for the California Dream Act application. 

Similarly, students without Social Security numbers or students who have lost DACA status (or never applied for DACA) may be eligible.

The full language of the law and eligibility requirements is stated in CA Education Code 68130.5. 

What type of aid is available from the California Dream Act?

  • Cal Grant
  • Chafee Grant
  • Middle Class Scholarship
  • UC Grants
  • State University Grants
  • California Community College (CCC) BOG Fee Waiver
  • EOP/EOPS
  • Some University scholarships
  • Some private scholarships administered by campuses

The application deadline for all Dreamer Cal Grants and most of the other aid listed above is March 2.

Dreamer Cal Grants include:

  • High School Entitlement Cal Grant A & B
  • CCC Transfer Entitlement Cal Grant A & B
  • Cal Grant C

(Dreamers are not eligible to receive Competitive Cal Grants.)

You must meet the application deadline and all applicable eligibility requirements to qualify for any financial aid listed above.

What are the differences between the California Dream Act and the Federal Dream Act?

The California Dream Act occurs at the state level. It allows certain undocumented students to receive state financial aid and scholarships funded through private donors. 

The Federal Dream Act seeks to bring conditional residency for qualifying undocumented individuals. Although not yet passed by the United States Congress, some of the stipulations concerning the Federal Dream Act will require applicants to be of good moral character, have graduated from high school, be currently enrolled or have completed two years of college or university, and/or have enlisted in the U.S. Army for at least two years. 

Where can I fill out the CA Dream Act application for financial aid?

Go to the California Student Aid Commission website on the California Dream Act.

Where can I find out about scholarships for undocumented students?

UNDOCUMENTED STUDENTS & UNIVERSITY ELIGIBILITY

If I am undocumented, can I go to college?                                                      

  • Yes, you can go to any college or university in California if you meet the admissions requirements.
  • You cannot be denied admission based on your immigration status to any state schools in California.
  • You can pay in-state tuition if you meet the criteria for state law AB 540.

If I am undocumented, can I receive financial aid?

As an undocumented student, you may currently qualify for state financial aid.  The California Dream Act provides access to private funding in the form of scholarships and state aid, specifically the California Cal Grant, for those who qualify.

Is my information private?

The information a student shares with a college or university is protected by federal law and CANNOT be shared with anyone, including immigration officials. It is protected by the federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) of 1974. The school legally cannot share this information with third parties, including the Department of Immigration and Naturalization (INS), now Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

Also, not all AB 540 students are undocumented. Many are legal residents.