We will work with you to help understand your unique career barriers and tailor options for your future career goals. Below are common questions and scenarios to help you in your career development process.
Filling Out Applications
On job applications, there is usually a question: “Are you legally authorized to work in the United States?”
- If you have DACA you can answer “yes” to the question and continue through the hiring process without having to disclose more detailed information about your background. See the section below for more information on DACA.
- If you do not have DACA or another work authorization status, there are other options you may consider for gaining experience and finding employment. See the section below for alternative employment options.
DACA & Alternative Employment Options
Deferred action for childhood arrivals (DACA) provides temporary relief from deportation and work authorization for individuals who came to the U.S. as children and who meet certain guidelines.
- To learn more about DACA eligibility and the application process, visit the Department of Homeland Security website.
- This employer guide on DACA has useful information on how to complete the required I-9 Form for Employment Eligibility. All employees must submit an acceptable document that establishes identity and employment authorization. DACA is item 4 on List A.
Alternative Employment Options
If you do not have DACA, you may consider other avenues for gaining professional experience, such as:
- If you receive an internship offer, you may ask the employer not to be paid and pursue other means of financial support such as the Career Development Office’s Internship Funds.
- You may discuss with an employer the option of working as an independent contractor. Independent contractors often do the same type of work, but instead of working for one employer, might work for multiple clients. Examples of independent contractor jobs include tutor or child care provider.
- An independent contractor can use an Independent Taxpayer Identification Number which can be obtained regardless of immigration status. Read Life After College: A Guide for Undocumented Students by Educators for Fair Consideration (E4FC) for more information (pages 29-35).
- If you are interested in starting your own business, a Limited Liability Company (LLC) may be an option to consider. An LLC is composed of an individual or a group of people who are both workers and owners of a business. Resources on starting a small business can be found on the Immigrants Rising: Resources pages.
If you are considering whether to apply to graduate school, sign up for a career advising appointment to talk with an advisor about the decision and to get help finding programs.
Financing Graduate School
Many graduate schools offer funding to help with the cost of graduate school. Some financial assistance may come in the form of research or teaching assistantships. The process of applying to assistantships is unique for each university. Career Development can offer assistance in navigating the assistantship application process in our career advising sessions. Some programs also offer scholarships for incoming students. This blog from My (Un)Documented Life has tips on applying to graduate school as an undocumented student. Also check out the list of scholarship opportunities for DACA/Undocumented students.
The Law School Admissions Council (LSAC) also offers a fee waiver for the LSAT for candidates who are unable to pay for the test. If you have DACA or have applied for DACA you can apply for the fee waiver.
Pre-Health Dreamers (PHD) is a national network that provides support to undocumented students who are pursuing careers in health and science. You’ll find much more, including a list of internships available to undocumented students, on the PHD website.
The Latino Medical Student Association has a scholarship for pre-medical students interested in advancing healthcare and education for Latinx and underserved communities. Students are eligible to apply regardless of immigration status.
Willamette University’s DACA and Undocumented Student’s page connects all the various forms of support available to students throughout the community, including admissions, financial aid, scholarships, and postgraduate resources.
My (Un) Documented Life – This website provides up-to-date information, resources, and a community for undocumented immigrants, including scholarship opportunities, strategies for navigating the educational system, and information on how to apply for DACA.
Harvard Act on a Dream – Harvard College Act on a Dream is a student-led, student-run organization at Harvard College dedicated to eradicating the barriers that immigrant students face in realizing their full potential. The website includes student stories, a scholarship database, and additional resources for undocumented students and others looking to learn more.