Understanding travel nuances can be tricky for those under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program or with a DACA application in progress. It's crucial to familiarize yourself with the necessary travel guidelines and potential barriers to ensure a smooth journey and prevent any complications with your immigration status. Below is a compilation of pivotal travel advice tailored specifically for DACA recipients.
Traveling Within the U.S. for DACA Recipients
There's positive news for DACA recipients living in the U.S. and looking to explore the nation. Domestic travel is permitted for current DACA holders and those with pending applications as long as they possess the required identification. Domestic fliers in the U.S. must show a legitimate government-issued ID that corresponds with their flight booking name. At the airport, passengers must show this ID to a Transportation Security Administration (TSA) official at the security checkpoint. The TSA will verify the flight details and the ID for identity validation before allowing boarding. Ensure your ID is current and officially sanctioned by a government agency. Suitable identification options encompass U.S. state-sanctioned driver’s licenses, driver’s permits, or a passport from your origin country.
For those lacking the identification types mentioned above, DACA recipients can use an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) provided by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) as an alternative ID. Refer to the official TSA travel guide for a detailed breakdown of U.S. domestic travel prerequisites and flight preparations.
Understanding the REAL ID Directive
If you've recently updated your ID or travel often, you might be familiar with the "REAL ID" – a fresh standard for governmental document security. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has declared a shift in enforcing the REAL ID compliance deadline to May 7, 2025.
From this date, all U.S. citizens above 18 must have a REAL ID-compliant document for domestic air travel. You can identify REAL ID-compliant driver’s licenses by a star emblem on the card's top. There are also other documents recognized as adhering to the REAL ID standard. A complete list of these identification forms is available for review.
For DACA recipients seeking a REAL ID, the state’s Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) is the place to go. For a detailed application process, consult the Boundless REAL ID guide.
Notably, a valid EAD is recognized as complying with REAL ID regulations and is acceptable for U.S. domestic flights. However, if you lack a valid EAD or can't get a REAL ID before its 2025 enforcement, your country of origin's passport becomes essential for travel. You can head to the REAL ID website for an in-depth state-by-state REAL ID overview and details on updating a driver’s license.
Delving Into International Travel Protocols
While DACA recipients can easily embark on U.S. domestic trips, international journeys have a different set of challenges. Typically, DACA recipients cannot venture outside the U.S. borders without a special travel permit from the U.S. government, known as Advance Parole. Even with an Advance Parole document, international trips are restricted and only allowed for specific purposes. The Boundless DACA guide is a valuable resource for a comprehensive insight into obtaining the Advance Parole permit and understanding international travel dynamics as a DACA recipient.