Disclaimer: The information on this page is not legal advice. If you have questions, we highly encourage you to meet with a legal representative. Cal State LA students, staff, faculty and their immediate relatives* have access to free legal services with CARECEN legal staff through the Erika J. Glazer Family Dreamers Resource Center (DRC).

* immediate relatives include spouses, parents, siblings, and children only.


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.

How has DACA changed?



June 2012

President Barack Obama establishes DACA.

September 2017

Trump administration announces that the program will be rescinded/terminated.


Several lawsuits are filed in federal courts challenging this decision.


Preliminary injunctions are granted by federal courts that require U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to accept applications for DACA renewals.

June 18, 2020

The U.S. Supreme Court (SCOTUS) finds the Trump administration’s termination of DACA invalid. The court found that the administration had not followed the proper procedures when it rescinded the program.

June 19-July, 2020

USCIS rejects first-time DACA applications. USCIS issues receipt notices for Advance Parole applications.

July 17, 2020

Lower court orders USCIS to follow SCOTUS order.

July 28, 2020

Head of the Department of Homeland Security issues memo outlining restrictions to DACA while the Trump administration reviews the program. The restrictions include; (1) rejection of all initial DACA applications; (2) rejection of Advance Parole applications absent extraordinary circumstances; and (3) all DACA renewals granted after the memo would only receive a one-year period of deferred action, instead of the usual two years.


What’s happening with DACA right now?

The Department of Homeland Security has issued the following restrictions to DACA while the program is under review:

  • Initial DACA applications will be rejected, fees will be returned along with application.
  • Advance Parole will be rejected absent extraordinary circumstances.
  • You can renew DACA for one year. The fee remains the same at $495.

Can I apply for DACA for the first time?

This is a personal choice. Technically, based on the Supreme Court decision, you can submit a first-time application.

But, if you file now, your application will be rejected.

Before you decide to file or to find out if you’re eligible for other types of immigration relief, we highly recommend meeting with a legal representative. Cal State LA students, staff, faculty and their immediate relatives* have access to free legal services with CARECEN legal staff through the Erika J. Glazer Family Dreamers Resource Center (DRC).

* immediate relatives include spouses, parents, siblings, and children only.

Is there anything I can do?

If you’re unsure about applying for DACA right now, you can prepare by gathering all the documents you might need for an initial application.

See the questions related to eligibility, proof of identity and proof of presence.

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

  • First-time applications are being rejected.
  • USCIS would have your personal info.

Can I apply for Advance Parole?

Advance Parole applications are being rejected absent extraordinary circumstances.

We highly recommend consulting with a legal representative before applying for advance parole. Cal State LA students, staff, faculty and their immediate relatives* have access to free legal services with CARECEN legal staff through the Erika J. Glazer Family Dreamers Resource Center (DRC).

* immediate relatives include spouses, parents, siblings, and children only.

What are the risks of applying for Advance Parole?

  • USCIS will deny your application, absent extraordinary circumstances, and refund all associated fees.
  • With the COVID-19 pandemic, there are limitations and risks involved with travel.
  • 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. However, renewals are only being granted for one year instead of two.

We encourage applicants to submit renewals within the 150-day filing window in order to maximize your renewal period.

If you, at any point in the past, had DACA, then you can file to have your DACA renewed.

Who is eligible for DACA?

(Before completing a DACA application, please see Can I apply for DACA for the first time? question above)

  • 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. Some criminal offenses make individuals vulnerable to be referred by USCIS for immigration proceedings.


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.


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
  • 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?


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.