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People who receive Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) cannot leave the United States and its territories without their status being questioned. In the worst cases, if they do depart, they may not be able to get back over the border. While Hawaii is in the United States, it may seem like a grey area for travel since it’s not in the continental U.S.
DACA recipients can travel to Hawaii. DACA recipients can travel to any state that belongs to the U.S. without applying for Advance Parole or getting special permission from the U.S. government. Recipients are also allowed to travel to most U.S. territories.
Traveling as a DACA recipient can be stressful and complex, so I’m here to give you all the answers. I’ll tell you where you can travel as a DACA recipient and teach you the safest way to travel to Hawaii and other U.S. states and territories with DACA status.
Where Can DACA Recipients Travel?
DACA recipients can travel to all 50 U.S. States and most U.S. Territories. Some DACA recipients may also be eligible for Advance Parole, which would permit the recipient to travel outside of United States borders.
DACA recipients can travel to any state without special permission from the U.S. government. So, traveling to Hawaii would be just as easy as visiting New York as far as legality is concerned.
Since 2021, DACA recipients have also been allowed to travel to the U.S. territories except for American Samoa. The territories that DACA recipients can travel to include:
- Puerto Rico
- U.S. Virgin Islands
- Northern Mariana Islands
These territories use the same immigration system as the rest of the United States, so you won’t need a passport or full citizenship status to go there if you’re a DREAMer.
However, DACA recipients cannot leave the USA and U.S. Territories without special permission. If you leave the U.S. borders at any time as a DACA recipient and do not have travel permissions, you will likely be refused re-entry into the USA, even if you are in good standing.
So, Hawaii is the ideal spot to travel to if you are a DACA recipient. You should not have problems leaving or re-entering the continental United States from Hawaii.
Can DACA Recipients With a History of Arrest Travel to Hawaii?
DACA recipients with a history of arrest may be able to travel to Hawaii. If you were arrested or convicted of a crime after you received your DACA card, you might not be able to leave your home state without legal scrutiny. However, if you were acquitted, you may be able to travel.
The U.S. government specifies that DACA recipients convicted of a “significant misdemeanor” will lose their DACA status, thus barring them from traveling without risking deportation. If you have been arrested recently, you should not attempt to fly to Hawaii since travel might seem suspicious to the U.S. government.
The best action to take in this case would be to talk to an immigration lawyer and ask for their advice. If the legal offense was minor enough, they may see a reason to believe that traveling would not jeopardize your status.
However, traveling after an arrest, even to another state, might be risky without advice from a lawyer.
Do DACA Recipients Need To Get Advance Parole When Traveling to Hawaii?
DACA recipients do not need to get advance parole when traveling to Hawaii. You do not need Advance Parole when traveling to a state within the USA. You should only apply for it when you must leave the United States.
Although many people, especially DACA recipients, would prefer to take every possible precaution before traveling, you do not need advance parole when traveling to Hawaii. In addition, if you’re planning a vacation, you will likely be denied Advance Parole.
Getting Advance Parole is a lengthy and occasionally expensive process. You only qualify for it if you leave the United States for humanitarian, governmental, educational, or medical purposes.
So, you should only apply for it if you need it, and even then, you should do so sparingly.
Tips for Traveling to Hawaii With DACA Status
Before you book your flight, you may want to know what to expect when traveling to Hawaii. Although DACA recipients are permitted to travel to Hawaii without special permission, it’s always best to have your documents and items in order before you leave.
So, let’s look at some things you should keep in mind when going to Hawaii as a DACA recipient:
- Bring your EAD. You will need some form of identification to get through airport security. As a DACA recipient, you must bring your EAD, which counts as a government-issued I.D. card. However, you might also want to carry a REAL ID driver’s license or another I.D. card from the TSA’s acceptable identification list.
- Bring your DACA packet. Although you may not need it, it’s always best to bring your DACA packet, including receipts and other documentation that verifies your status, with you when you plan to travel, even just to another state. These documents ensure you have no trouble getting through security and returning home after your trip.
- Don’t allow your status to expire during your trip. If your DACA status expires during your trip, you may experience issues. Sometimes, you may get stuck wherever you are and may not be permitted to re-enter the continental USA. So, check your renewal status before you plan your trip and avoid traveling unless you know that you are in good standing with the U.S. government.
- Don’t travel in bad weather. You may lose your DACA status if your plane has to land outside U.S. borders, such as in Canada or Mexico, during an emergency or in the case of inclement weather. So, check and recheck the weather, and avoid traveling when the conditions may warrant an emergency landing.
- Check layovers. You may lose your DACA status if your flight has any layovers in a country outside of the USA. It’s common for people on layovers to go through customs in that country, proving that they left the USA. You can read my other article to learn more about why layovers happen and how to avoid them.
DACA recipients can travel to Hawaii and any other U.S. state without additional travel documents or Advance Parole. However, you must be in good legal standing to travel on an airline, and you should bring all of your DACA documentation with you to get through airport security.
Double-check for layovers in Mexico or other countries before you leave, as landing outside the U.S. borders would violate and annul your DACA status.