The following federal, state and university laws and/or programs directly impact Dreamers. Some of the language is complex, so please take time to read them carefully to see if any can help you during your time at UC Riverside. We are also available to assist you. Contact us if you need help!


Deferred Action for Early Childhood Arrivals (DACA)

On June 15, 2012, the Secretary of Homeland Security announced that certain people who came to the United States as children and meet several key guidelines may request consideration of deferred action for a period of two years, subject to renewal, and would then be eligible for work authorization. Deferred action is a discretionary determination to defer removal action of an individual as an act of prosecutorial discretion. Deferred action does not provide an individual with lawful status.

With DACA you may: 


  • You came to the United States before reaching your 16th birthday.
  • You have continuously resided in the United States since June 15, 2007, up to the present time.
  • You were under the age of 31 and at least 15 years or older as of June 15, 2012.
    • You are currently in school, have graduated or obtained your certificate of completion from high school, have obtained your General Educational Development certification, or you are an honorably discharged veteran of the Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the United States.
    • You have not been convicted of a felony, significant misdemeanor, or three or more misdemeanors, and do not otherwise pose a threat.
    • You were present in the United States on June 15, 2012, and at the time of making your request for consideration of deferred action with USCIS.

To be considered for DACA, you must file:

You may not e-file your form I-765 if you are requesting DACA consideration. 

You must file with the correct fee ($465) or your request will be rejected and returned to you. There are programs to help with these fees (see Loan Assistance for DACA Fees below).

The 90-day period for reviewing Form I-765 filed together with Form I-821D begins if and when USCIS decides whether to defer action in your case.

First, check the expiration date of your work authorization. You should apply for renewals no more than 150 days before expiration and no less than 120 days before the expiration date. 

To renew, you must file:

If you are a current UCR student, you can receive free assistance with your DACA application! Please contact us for more information.

There are loans are available for those that are having difficulty paying for the DACA fee. Each credit union has its own eligibility guidelines, interest rates and payment times. 

This is not an endorsement for these loans, and we urge you to carefully read terms and conditions before accepting any loan.


Passed in October 12, 2001, this bill allows undocumented students who meet certain requirements to pay in-state tuition in California’s higher education institutions (UC, CSU, community colleges).


  • You have attended a California high school for three or more years OR, the equivalent for three years of high school credits AND a total of three or more years of attendance in California elementary schools.
  • Will have or have graduated from a California high school or have attained a GED.
  • Have registered or enrolled at and an accredited institution of higher learning in California.
You must file or plan to file an affidavit as required by individual institutions, stating that he/she will apply for legal residency as soon as possible. 

The California Dream Act (AB 130 & AB 131) allows AB 540 students to be eligible for state financial aid. 

Students granted DACA should apply for California Dream Act, NOT FAFSA!

AB 130: Allows AB-540-eligible students to apply for and receive private scholarships administered by public colleges and universities, including scholarships funded through private donors, alumni contributions and individual departmental efforts.

AB 131: Allows students who meet the AB 540 criteria to:
- Apply for and receive institutional grants such as UC Grant, State University Grant, Educational Opportunity Program and Educational Opportunity Program & Services fee waivers.
- Apply for and receive Board of Governors fee waivers at the California Community Colleges.
- Apply for and receive state financial aid, including Cal Grants and Chafee Foster Youth Grants for use at eligible public and private institutions.

Note: If you’re a male under the age of 25 (even if undocumented), you must register for Selective Service.

How to Apply for the California Dream Act:

  1. Determine if you meet the AB 540 requirements (see above).
  2. Apply for the California Dream ActApplication opens in the beginning of October and the deadline is March 2.
  3. Make sure you submit your GPA verification by March 2.
  4. After you apply, check with your school to see if any additional information from you is needed. If you attend UC Riverside, you can do this in R'Web

    Note: About 20 percent of students are selected for verification and will have to submit additional documentation to verify household income and size.

The DREAM Loan is offered to AB 540 student to close the gap of unmet financial need. Each UC campus will determine the amount a student can borrow based on available funding and number of eligible students.

The maximum loan amount is capped at $4,000 each year, per student.

Although it is not a federal loan, the interest rates and terms will be similar to Stafford Loans.

Interest will not accrue on the loan as long as you're a student enrolled at least half time and there is a 6 month “grace period” before you have to start paying pack the loan.

Payments are scheduled over a ten-year term.

If you are interested in the loan, you should indicate so on your California Dream Act application.

DREAM Loan 2016-2017 (UCR information) 

Beginning January 1, 2015, any eligible California resident will be able to receive a driver’s license, regardless of immigration status. An applicant who does not have a social security number or proof of lawful presence will receive an AB 60 license, which will have a visible distinguishing feature (to be determined).

For more information visit: DriveCA.org.

Through the passage of SB 1159, individuals in California can submit an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) in lieu of a social security number to obtain professional licenses issued from 40 different boards overseen by the California Department of Consumer Affairs.

As described by Educators for Fair Consideration, “A professional license authorizes practitioners of certain professions such as medicine, law, social work, and cosmetology to work in a given industry. Usually regulated by state governments, professional licenses are usually overseen by state licensing boards or bureaus.

Requirements to successfully gain a professional license vary between industries and between states, and can consist of a combination of written examinations, demonstrated work experience and higher education.”

For more information on how an undocumented person can work as an independent contractor see E4FC’s Life after College Guide.

University of California 

Undocumented students may qualify for a tuition exemption under AB 540 legislation.