Undocumented & DACA Students FAQ
The information below answers some common questions that the University of Rochester Undocumented or DACAmented students may have relating to career and internship pursuits. Much of the information presented has been obtained from the document ‘Life After College: A Guide for Undocumented Students’ produced by Educators for Fair Consideration, which provides a comprehensive exploration of education, career, and internship options for Undocumented and DACAmented students. This information is for reference only. It should not be supplemented for legal advice and does not substitute for the advice of an immigration expert.
I have DACA, am I allowed to obtain employment or internship experience?
DACAmented students with valid work permits are able to obtain work and internship experiences like any other student with work authorization. Becoming knowledgeable of the permissions of your status is important in order to educate potential employers on your ability to work for them. Greene Center Advisors can help you learn more about how to communicate this effectively, appointments can be made through Handshake.
I am undocumented, am I allowed to obtain employment or internship experience?
Undocumented students without work authorization face some different challenges in gaining work experience, as they are not able to work for wages or compensation through traditional routes.
Internships are one way to explore careers, gain professional development, and build career competencies. Although many formal paid internships require work permits, as an Undocumented student there are alternatives to gain experience.
Internships for credit
Students may participate in unpaid (no monetary or material compensation) internships at certain organizations and get sponsored by faculty members or the Greene Center at the U of R in order to get academic credit.
Unpaid internship plus Summer Internship funding
There is Summer Internship Funding and Summer Research Funding available to undergraduates in the Colleges of Arts, Sciences and Engineering. This can be used to support your cost of living expenses while participating in an unpaid summer internship. Undocumented students without DACA should contact Rory-Stefan Affoon to discuss their individual situation regarding funding possibilities.
The Washington Semester
The Center for Community Engagement (CCE) in cooperation with The Washington Center, offers semester-long programs in Washington, D.C., that combine a credit-bearing internship with a course taught by faculty from area universities. Undergraduate students gain an immersive experience in professional fields, unique academic opportunities, and the chance to explore life and work in the nation’s capital. When students are accepted into the Washington Semester programming they register for classes at the U of R, but complete course and internship programming in Washington D.C. at The Washington Center. Students should talk with their advisor and let them know that they do not want to participate in any internship that requires a background check (some internships, especially those with the federal government, require a background check).
Citation in Community Engaged Scholarship
This program combines academics and community involvement for students to build scholarships and address pressing issues facing communities. This is a great opportunity for students to get involved in the Rochester community while fulfilling credit requirements for graduation.
Art New York
Art New York is a Spring internship and program of study in New York City that fulfills 16 credit requirements. This program provides an opportunity for students to experience New York City life while pursuing a combination of classroom learning and hands-on experience. Participation in the program will enrich your understanding of the operation of the art world and offer insight into further study and career opportunities.
The Ain Center for Entrepreneurship
The Ain Center provides a variety of academic and professional opportunities that support students with innovative ideas.
Does applying for a job or internship put me at risk for legal action?
The answer to this question varies depending on factors such as who the employer is and what questions are asked in the application. It is strongly advised to be honest on an application about work authorization, as this may have future implications.
As an undocumented/DACAmented student am I allowed to pursue internships/jobs out of state or outside of the US?
There are various considerations that students should be aware of when wanting to pursue internships or job experiences out of state or in the US. It is strongly advised that both Undocumented and DACAmented students do not leave the US as this risks re-entry into the country at a future date. For more information, we suggest reading pages 39-40 of the Life After College Guide which outlines the risks of going abroad. Traveling to a different state also holds potential risks, as public transportation, such as buses and trains, may have immigration agents present at stations. Looking for alternatives to travel between states, such as ride shares, could be a viable alternative to travel within the country. For more information on ride shares at the University of Rochester, please contact Molly Morrison.
Another dimension to consider is what the climate in that city, area, or region is toward undocumented immigrants. While some areas are very open and welcoming to undocumented students and DACA recipients, others may not be. Additionally, border states may have a larger presence of ICE officials.
Am I eligible for financial support from the University to pursue internships?
Summer Internships and Research Funding may be available for students who currently have, or can complete, an I-9 through the Student Employment Office – including DACA students. A stipend between $1,000 – $2,500 is allocated to students that go through the application process and receive approval. Undocumented students should contact Rory-Stefan Affoon to discuss their individual situation regarding potential funding.
Additionally, The Dreamers Roadmap offers a list of different financial scholarships to fund opportunities for DACA and Undocumented students for summer and internship pursuits.
I am undocumented, am I able to work after graduation?
Although Undocumented students face restrictions due to work permits, there are some options that students can consider in order to work after graduation.
- Become an Independent Contractor: An independent contractor is self-employed and provides a service to employers for a fee. Independent contractors typically register themselves as a business. In order to do so, you must obtain an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) which can be issued regardless of immigration status. Please contact Sarah Cammarata to learn more about how to get an ITIN.
- Start aLimited Liability Company LLC as a Worker Cooperative: A worker cooperative is a business comprised of members who are workers AND owners of the business. Members can control the structure and practices of the work environment. Businesses that hire a worker cooperative are hiring the cooperative, not a single member. Therefore, they are not required to prove that the work being done by the worker cooperative qualifies as independent contract work.
Pages 29-37 of the Life After College Guide touches on these processes and can help you understand what this type of work might look like.
What other ways can I build career competencies and gain experience?
There are other ways that you can enrich your experience at the U of R and become career-ready by building valuable competencies.
- Volunteering is a great way of gaining experience in different fields, deepening your connection to the community, and networking with people who can provide insights and contacts, which could lead to further opportunities. Learn about volunteering opportunities in the Rochester area through Volunteer Match or by joining a student organization dedicated to volunteering.
- Joining a student organization can connect you to people with similar interests on campus, provide opportunities for leadership, and help you become more involved with different causes and activities. Student organization affiliation and experiences can build skills, help you make connections, develop career competencies, and allow you to explore your interests.
- Take a class such as CASC 104 ROC Your Life (+ Your Career) and WRT 27x Communicating Your Professional Identity. These courses are focused on career development, exploration, and communication of the professional self.
Who can I talk to about being undocumented and applying for internships/jobs?
Advisors at the Greene Center are available to talk about pursuing internship and job opportunities, writing documents such as Resumes and Cover Letters, and navigating career resources. Most of our advisors have completed UndocuAlly training and are aware of how immigration status can impact the job/internship application process. You can make an appointment with an advisor through Handshake.
What resources/support are available to me as a student of the U of R?
Please see a list of Undocumented/DACA Student Support faculty, staff members, and offices across the University.