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DACA and Undocumented Students

Frequently Asked Questions

DACA, DREAMer, undocumented...you’ve got questions and we’ve got answers. Check out or FAQ to learn more.

What does it mean to be undocumented?
Individuals may be considered undocumented if:

  • They entered the United States with a valid visa or other lawful status, but their immigration status has expired;
  • They applied for but were denied authorization to enter or remain in the United States;
  • They have not applied to obtain any legal status that would permit them to remain in the United States.

What is the DREAM Act?
DREAM stands for Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors. The DREAM Act was bipartisan legislation proposed in 2001 to grant conditional and eventual permanent residency to undocumented individuals who meet various established requirements. Read about the history of the DREAM Act.

Who are “DREAMers”?
The term “DREAMer” has been used to describe undocumented individuals who were brought to the United States as children, who have lived and gone to school in the US, and who self-identify as US citizens.

Who can obtain DACA status?
Undocumented people living in the United States must prove the following criteria to be eligible for DACA:

  • Were under age 31 as of June 15, 2012 (born June 16, 1981 or later);
  • came to the United States before their 16th birthday;
  • have resided in the United States since at least June 15, 2007 through today;
  • were physically present in the United States on June 15, 2012 and at the time of requesting deferred action through U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services;
  • had no lawful status on June 15, 2012;
  • are currently in school, have graduated or obtained a certification of completion of high school, have obtained a GED certificate or are an honorably discharged veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces or Coast Guard;
  • have not been convicted of a felony, significant misdemeanor, or three or more other misdemeanors; and
  • ​are at least 15 years or older, unless currently involved in a removal proceeding or have a final removal or voluntary departure order.

For those granted DACA status, it may take four to eight months after submitting necessary forms to receive an Employment Authorization Card.

Do DACA students need to file an I-20 eligibility form with the US Government?
No, they do not.

Do DACA students qualify for financial aid?
They qualify for Pace University scholarships and outside scholarships (see our DACA scholarships page), but US Federal Student Aid is not available to non-US citizens.

Can I work in the US and on campus as a DACA student?
Yes, there are no work restrictions for DACA students.

I am undocumented; does this mean I am a DACA student?
DACA is a program that you register for with the US government. If you want to register, contact John Jay Legal Services at Pace’s Elisabeth Haub School of Law for assistance. Visit the US Citizenship and Immigration Services website to get more information about the process and forms for requesting DACA.

Where can I see the latest updates to DACA?
US Citizenship and Immigration Services has resumed reviewing renewal requests for those who previously had deferred action. See the latest updates to DACA.

The policy for renewal will be operated on the terms in place before it was rescinded on September 5, 2017.