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Legal Information

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As described in the "Resources for Undocumented Students" provided by the California State University at https://www2.calstate.edu/attend/student-services/resources-for-undocumented-students/Pages/default.aspx:

  1. The California Department of Social Services (CDSS) funds qualified nonprofits to provide immigration legal services free of charge in the following categories: (1) Application Assistance - Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA); (2) Application Assistance - Other Immigration Remedies; (3) Application Assistance - Naturalization; (4) Legal Training and Technical Assistance; and (5) Education and Outreach. These nonprofit organizations provide legal services to immigrants residing in California free of charge, but on a first-come, first-served basis. To access a comprehensive list of providers, download the CDSS list here.
  2. The U.S. Executive Office for Immigration Review provides individuals in immigration proceedings with a List of Pro Bono Legal Service Providers (also known as the "List"; formerly known as the “List of Free Legal Services Providers”). The List contains information on non-profit organizations and attorneys who have committed to providing at least 50 hours per year of pro bono legal services before the immigration court location where they appear on the List. The List also contains information on pro bono referral services that refer individuals in immigration court proceedings to pro bono counsel. Download the U.S. EOIR list here.
  3. In addition, as part of its resources for undocumented students, the California State University has identified the following links that provide referrals to other qualified immigration attorneys. Fees are assessed by the attorney for these services and must be paid by the individual. Immigration lawyers charge different fees for different services, often based on the complexity of your case. 

Selected California Laws

LAW Impact

AB 540 (2001)

(effective 2012)

Eligible undocumented CA high school graduates can pay in-state tuition regardless of immigration status.

AB 130 (2011

(effective 2012)

Eligible AB 540 students can apply for and receive scholarships at California public colleges and universities derived from non-state funds.

AB 131 (2011)

(effective 2013)

Eligible AB 540 students can apply for and receive financial aid at California public colleges and universities partially derived from state funds beginning in the Spring 2013 semester.

AB 844 (2011)

(effective 2012)

Undocumented students can serve in student government and receive the benefits of their service.
AB 4 (2013) (effective 2014)
Limits cruel immigration “hold” request in local jails, allowing immigrant crime victims and witnesses to cooperate with police without fear of deportation.

AB 2000 (2014)

(effective 2015)

Expands access to AB 540 out-of-state tuition waiver (includes elementary and middle school years).

SB 1210 (2014)

(effective 2015)

Establishes a CA DREAM Loan Program.

SB 1159 (2014)

(required implementation by Jan 1, 2016)

Expands access to occupational licenses to undocumented individuals.

AB 60 (2014)

(effective 2015)

Provides access to driver’s license for CA residents regardless of documentation status.

SB 432 (2015)

(effective 2016)

Removes the word ‘alien’ from CA Labor Laws.

For more information on California laws that impact undocumented students, see our Resource Booklet.

Federal Executive Orders

Following an Executive Order from President Obama, the Secretary of Homeland Security announced on June 15, 2012 that “certain people who came to the United States as children and meet several guidelines may request consideration of deferred action for a period of two years, subject to renewal. They are also eligible for work authorization. Deferred action is a use of prosecutorial discretion to defer removal action against an individual for a certain period of time. Deferred action does not provide lawful status.

DACA eligibility requirements are different from AB 540 requirements. The Office of U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (UCIS) website offers additional information about DACA eligibility and the application process.

AB 540 Eligibility Requirements

1. Satisfaction of either of the following:

  • High School attendance in California for three or more years.
  • Attainment of credits earned in California from a California high school equivalent to three or more years of full-time high school coursework and a total of three or more years of attendance in California elementary schools, California secondary schools, or a combination of those schools.

2. Graduated or will graduate from a California high school or obtained a Certificate or General Education Development (GED), High School Equivalency Test (HiSET), or test Assessing Secondary Completion (TASC).

3. Will register or enroll in an accredited and qualifying California college or university.

4. If applicable, complete(d) an affidavit to legalize immigration status as soon as you are eligible.

5. Do not hold a valid non-immigrant visa (F, J, H, L, A, B, C, D, E, etc.). If you have Temporary Protected Status or hold a U Visa you may be eligible for the California Dream Act. AB 1899 allows U and T visa holders to also apply for state financial aid. (T visa holders should file a FAFSA, U visa holders should file a CA Dream Act Application)

(from: http://www.csac.ca.gov/dream_act.asp)

Related Content


Cal Poly's UndocuWeek is Monday September 18 to Friday September 22. Designed for undocumented students and students in mixed status families.

Explore the Schedule

Cal Poly FAQs


Based on questions submitted by Cal Poly students and their supporters, these FAQs will be updated on an ongoing basis.

Cal Poly FAQs

Family Safety Guide for Immigrants

Family Safety Guide for Immigrants

Available in English & Spanish

Download Now



Donations can be made to the ASI-recognized undocumented student club called RISE: Rising Immigrant Scholars through Education

Give to student club RISE



Contact the Dream Center at dreamcenter@calpoly.edu or 805-756-6362. To set up a meeting with the Undocumented Student Working Group, email undocu@calpoly.edu or call 805-756-2418. See our Ally List to find allies and working group members in specific departments.

Email the Working Group