Career Tips for Undocumented Students

List of Companies in Support of DACA/TPS Holders: Companies that have used their voices in
support of DACA and TPS holders.

TheDream.US General Guides: TheDream.US is the nation’s largest college and career success
program for undocumented students

Are undocumented students with DACA or TPS able to legally work?
Yes. DACA holders have a renewable two-year employment authorization document (EAD) that allows
them to legally work without sponsorship. TPS holders also have renewable employment authorization.
An employer does not have to sponsor an individual with DACA or TPS – they can hire them just as
they would any U.S. citizen
. It is unlawful for an employer to refuse to hire DACA or TPS holders with a
valid work authorization because of their DACA or TPS status. Undocumented students without DACA
or TPS status do not have work authorization but have alternative career pathway options including
independent contracting, starting a business, or joining a workers’ cooperative.

Undocumented Students with DACA or TPS (work authorization)
• DACA and TPS recipients have full work authorization for the duration of their status and are legally
able to work in the United States. Their employment authorization card (which looks like a driver’s
license) includes a social security number and expiration date.
• DACA and TPS recipients are eligible and can apply to most job and internship opportunities; they
are not eligible for opportunities that require U.S. Citizenship.
• Because they have work authorization, DACA and TPS recipients do not need work sponsorship. On
job applications, DACA and TPS recipients should answer “No” to the “Do you now or in the future
require sponsorship for employment visa status?”
• DACA and TPS recipients are not required to disclose their status at any point to employers. The
Disclosing your Status during Job Interviews video can help recipients decide whether or not to
disclose their status.
• Once a recipient accepts a job offer, they will have to provide proof of work authorization (their EAD
card). Their EAD card is the only work authorization document the company’s HR office needs.
• It is unlawful for employers to deny employment to DACA and TPS recipients based on their status.
• DACA recipients work in many industries including healthcare and education. DACA recipients
work for many of the top 25 Fortune 500 companies, including Apple, Amazon, and Wells Fargo.

Undocumented Students without DACA or TPS (no work authorization)
• Undocumented students without DACA or TPS do not have work authorization and are not legally
eligible for employment opportunities. However, they have alternative career pathway options
including independent contracting, starting a business, or joining a workers’ cooperatives. (Note:
These opportunities are not employment-based and do not require work authorization.)
• Undocumented students without work authorization can legally earn income using an Individual Tax
Identification Number (ITIN) or an Employer Identification Number (EIN) so long as they file and
pay taxes each year.
Career Pathways for Undocumented Students without DACA or TPS
• Independent Contracting: An undocumented student will need an ITIN in order to work and pay
taxes as an independent contractor. Undocumented students without DACA or TPS may already have
an ITIN if their parents have filed income taxes and claimed them as a dependent. They can find out
if they have an ITIN by reviewing their parents’ tax forms. If they have an ITIN, they should find out
if it has expired. Information on ITIN expiration and renewal can be found here: IRS ITIN video. For
those that do not have an ITIN, they can learn how to obtain one here: ITIN Guide or Independent
Contractor Forms video from Immigrants Rising. (Note: Obtaining an ITIN is a lengthy process and
can take several months.) Independent contracting includes freelancing, consulting, and participating
in the gig economy.
o Parker Dewey Micro-Internships: Parker Dewey works with employers to offer students paid
micro-internships as independent contractors. Undocumented students with an ITIN and/or SSN
are eligible for these projects.
• Starting a Business: Undocumented students can start their own businesses. They can learn how to
do so through resources created by Immigrants Rising and Spark’s Entrepreneurship Hub for

• Worker Cooperatives: A worker cooperative is a business that is structured as an LLC that is owned
and managed by its members. Visit the Democracy at Work Institute for information on the worker
cooperative model.

By external content
external content