Undocumented Students

We understand the unique job and internship search needs of students who are undocumented or are under Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and Temporary Protected Status (TPS). 

Our staff advises all Mason students on career readiness, graduate school preparation, and other career-related questions regardless of documentation or citizenship.

student wearing a red shirt sits with a laptop in the sunshine on a green lawn
Appointment confidentiality
Mosaic tile
Explore Opportunities

Handshake is Mason’s database of jobs/internships for students. DACA and TPS students with an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) card may apply to most jobs or internships, except those which require U.S. citizenship such as government jobs. Undocumented students without an EAD have alternative employment options through entrepreneurship.

Mosaic tile
Where to Find Work

Internships   

Entrepreneurship   

All immigrants, regardless of status, can work as independent contractors or start their own business in the U.S. using a Social Security Number (SSN) or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN).     

  • Mason has academic programs, events, and resources to support students interested in going into business for themselves in order to earn a living.  More information at: https://startup.gmu.edu/
  • UndocuHustle provides guidance to immigrants on how to generate income through contracting or business startup opportunities.  
  • Venturize is a resource for people wanting to establish their own business. 
  • Life After College: A Guide for Undocumented Students offers advice on how to set up your own limited liability company, referred to as an LLC. See pages 34-35. 
  • Freelancers Union represents independent workers across the country. They provide 500,000+ members a powerful support system and voice through policy advocacy, benefits, resources, and community.
  • Democracy at Work Institute supports workers cooperatives reaching communities most directly affected by social and economic inequality.  
Mosaic tile
When to Disclose

For those with DACA or TPS: You do not have to disclose your immigration status when applying for a job or internship. You only need to let employers know that you have work authorization. The choice of whether or when to share your status with a potential employer is a personal decision. It is important to be aware of your rights and responsibilities when making decisions about disclosure.    

Job Application       

When completing a job application, you may be asked about your work authorization, but you do not have to explain your legal or citizenship status. These are common questions and how to respond: 

  • Are you legally authorized to work in the United States? DACA and TPS students with an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) card will answer “yes.”  

  • Will you now or in the future require sponsorship to work in the United States? Answer “no” as this question is for individuals on a student visa.   

Interview 

Again, you may be required to answer questions about your work authorization, not your legal or citizenship status. The employer may ask you:  

  • Are you authorized to work in the United States? Answer “yes” if you have an EAD card, but you are not required to explain your legal or citizenship status.   

Watch two students discuss their decision to disclose or not their status during job interviews. 

On-Boarding   

  • Once you are hired, you will provide your EAD card to your employer as they must complete a Federal Form I-9 which establishes identity and your authorization to work.    

Resources 

Mosaic tile
How to Get Financial Support

These resources do not require proof of citizenship or legal permanent residency and can be used to fund undergraduate and graduate programs of study. Pay close attention to the requirements and application deadlines. 

Mason Scholarships

External Scholarships

Other Resources

Mosaic tile
How to Build your Network

Networking means being proactive in connecting and building relationships with people. When you network with people who share your values, you may discover new opportunities in addition to building your community.

  • Get involved with UndocuMason, an on-campus organization offering support to undocumented students at Mason
  • Mason’s FirstGen+ Center offers community-building programs, services, and support for TPS, DACA, and undocumented Mason students
  • UndocuBlack Network is a supportive community for undocumented Black immigrants
  • United We Dream covers current events affecting undocumented immigrants
  • NAKASEC is a membership organization for Asian immigrants offering resources and scholarships
  • My Undocumented Life provides information and resources to help to create a sense of community for undocumented students
  • Entrepreneurs@Immigrants Rising (FB Group) is a community of immigrant entrepreneurs who share resources and network to help each other build their businesses