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Undocumented Students

Who Are Undocumented Students?

Undocumented students are foreign nationals for whom any of the following are true:
They entered the US without inspection
They entered the US legally but overstayed
They have or had Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (DACA) status
They are in the process of legalizing
They are vulnerable immigrants

Who Are Undocumented Students?

Undocumented students are foreign nationals for whom any of the following are true:

  • They entered the US without inspection
  • They entered the US legally but overstayed
  • They have or previously had Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (DACA) status
  • They are currently in the process of legalizing*
  • They are vulnerable immigrants

The term "undocumented immigrant" refers to any person residing in any given country without legal documentation.

Application Process for Undocumented Students

  1. Complete the CCCApply application at openccc.net.
  2. Submit a California Non-Resident Tuition Exemption Form to your college's Admissions and Records Office. *
  3. Complete the California Dream Act Application (CADAA) by March 2 of every year.

* Email completed form to:

Resources

CHIRLA Legal Services

The Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights (CHIRLA), in collaboration with Los Rios Community College District, offers free virtual/telephonic immigration consultations to Los Rios students, faculty, and staff. CHIRLA immigration services include:

  • Immigration consultations
  • DACA renewals
  • Naturalization
  • Family-based immigration
  • Know your rights

To make an appointment, visit CHIRLA and select Locations and Appointments from the menu.

Note: You are not required to state the nature of your case/question to college staff to make an appointment.

California Community College Legal Services

Free immigration legal services are available to students, staff, and faculty affiliated with the California community colleges. Priority for services is given to undocumented students, staff, and faculty. The immigration legal service providers offering services at the 65 campuses have developed scheduling, intake, and reporting processes that ensure student information remains confidential and protected.

Though all legal providers offer legal consultations and basic immigration benefit application assistance, some providers may offer additional services. Basic immigration legal assistance includes:

  • Legal consultations to screen for immigration relief
  • Deferred Action from Childhood Arrivals (DACA) renewals
  • Family-based petitions
  • Naturalization/citizenship applications

Visit the California Community Colleges Undocumented Student Legal Services website to access these resources.

DACA Assistance Funds

The DACA Assistance Fund is a one-time allocation of $3 million to support students, faculty, and staff across the California Community Colleges to pay for the $495 filing fee.

Who is eligible?

  • Students
  • Faculty
  • Staff
  • Dual Enrolled students
  • Noncredit students
  • Adult education

The Fund supports both first-time applicants as well as those renewing their DACA within 150 days of their permit expiring.

What if the USCIS is not accepting applications at this time?

According to United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), requests will remain on hold, in "pending" status, while the Southern District of Texas order remains in effect. With respect to individuals who have not yet filed for DACA, under the Court's order, USCIS may continue to accept first-time DACA applications, but may not grant any initial DACA requests at this time. It is unclear whether there is any benefit to applying for initial DACA at this time. Please consult with a licensed immigration attorney or DOJ accredited representative for advice on your case.

How to access benefits:

To access benefits from the Community College Immigration Services Project, students, faculty, and staff need to make an appointment with their region's identified host college, which can be found on the Chancellor's Office website.

Eligible individuals from any California Community College can schedule an appointment within their specific region and must choose a college that is closest to them.

For questions regarding eligibility or issues with scheduling, please email Alonso Garcia at algarcia@foundationccc.org.

If I am already working with an organization that is not listed, can I still get assistance?

In order to be eligible to receive assistance with the USCIS filing fee, eligible individuals must use one of the nine legal service providers contracted to provide services under the Community College Immigration Services Project.

Fee Reimbursement Policy

If you filed before connecting with one of the nine chosen legal services providers, you are not eligible to receive a reimbursement of your fees.

Report ICE Activity

Call Sacramento Rapid Response Network at (916) 245-6773 to report ICE activity.

Download our informational flyer: Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Just Showed Up! Now What?.

Immigration Services and Support

Terminology

Learn the definitions of common words and terms.

Assembly Bill (AB) 21

Assembly Bill 21 (Kalra, 2017) seeks to mitigate the impacts of potential federal changes to immigration enforcement policies and to ensure students have access to their financial aid, legal representation, and their constitutional right to due process. AB 21 also required that the CA Attorney General and the higher education segments (including private universities) adopt a model policy developed by the Attorney General or an equivalent policy, limiting assistance with immigration enforcement to the fullest extent possible consistent with federal and state law.

Source: California Community Colleges Dreamers Project: Complete Report

Assembly Bill (AB) 540

Assembly Bill 540 was passed in 2001 and grants students who meet certain criteria an exemption from paying nonresident tuition.

Source: California Community Colleges Dreamers Project: Complete Report

California Dream Act (AB 130 and AB 131)

The California Dream Act (Assembly Bill 130 and Assembly Bill 131) allows undocumented and nonresident documented students who meet certain requirements to apply for and receive:

  • Scholarships
  • State-administered financial aid
  • Community college fee waivers
  • Cal grants

Make sure your high school has verified your GPA.

Learn more at www.csac.ca.gov or call (888) 224-7268.

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)

DACA is a federal program for people who came to the US as children and meet several eligibility requirements. DACA provides a two-year deportation reprieve and applicants may apply for a work authorization permit, which is subject to renewal. It does not provide lawful status. Only adults who were 31 years old or younger on June 15, 2012 qualify for this program.

For more information about DACA, visit www.uscis.gov/archive/renew-your-daca.

Dreamer

The Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act (S.1291) legislation was introduced in 2001 as a bipartisan bill in the Senate. The legislative goal was to provide a means for undocumented immigrants who arrived in the US as children to gain a pathway to permanent legal status, provided those individuals achieved certain milestones.

The term Dreamer refers to undocumented students who were brought to the US by their parents as minors and either entered the country without inspection or overstayed their visas. They face unique legal uncertainties and limitations within the US educational system.

Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN)

An ITIN is a tax-processing number issued by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). ITINs are issued regardless of immigration status and are used for federal tax reporting only. These numbers are not intended to serve any other purpose. An ITIN can be used to apply to college, but is not required.

International Student

International students include those who currently hold specific visas. Undocumented students are not considered international applicants because many do not qualify for a visa and do not have to go through the international admission process.

Learn more about international student admissions.

Mixed Status Family

Mixed-status families include members with different immigration statuses. For example, a common family combination in the United States includes undocumented parents and citizen children.

Non-Citizen

The term non-citizen applies to students who:

  • Are not US citizens or permanent residents
  • Do not hold a valid visa
  • Are not seeking a visa for study or documentation for residency in the US

Overstayed Visa

An individual with an overstayed visa is one who has stayed in the US after their tourist, visitor, or student visa has expired.

Senate Bill (SB) 54

Senate Bill 54 (De Leon, 2017) ensures that no state or local resources are diverted to fuel any attempt by the federal government to carry out mass deportations and that schools, hospitals, and courthouses are safe spaces for everyone in the community.

Senate Bill (SB) 68

SB 68 is a law that expands on AB 540 to enable students to count years spent at a California Community College and adult education towards AB 540 eligibility. Additionally, SB 68 allows the completion of an associate degree or satisfaction of the minimum requirements to transfer to the University of California or California State University as sufficient for students to qualify for in-state tuition and financial aid.

Temporary Protected Status (TPS)

Temporary protected status (TPS) is a temporary status given to eligible nationals of designated countries who are present in the US. The status, afforded to nationals from some countries affected by armed conflict or natural disaster, allows persons to live and work in the US for limited times.

UndocuAlly

UndocuAlly is a term adopted to refer to allies for undocumented young people.

Undocu-friendly

Undocu-friendly is a term that refers to institutions that have policies or systems in place that aim to support undocumented students. 

Undocumented

An undocumented individual is one who entered without authorization, entered with a visa and overstayed their visa, or is currently in the process of legalizing.

UndocuScholar

Undocuscholar is another term for an undocumented student.

U Visa/U-Visa/U Non-Immigrant Status

U-visa, or the U nonimmigrant status (U visa), is set aside for victims of certain crimes who have suffered mental or physical abuse and are helpful to law enforcement or government officials in the investigation or prosecution of criminal activity.