Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals
On June 15, 2012, the Obama Administration 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 2 years, subject to renewal, and would then be eligible for work authorization.
Deferred action means that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) agrees not to start deportation proceedings against an individual. If an individual is currently in the process of deportation, DHS agrees to drop their demand for deportation. This policy is called Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA.
Once deferred action is granted, people may seek employment authorization, but it does not grant any kind of permanent residence, citizenship status, or amnesty. Also, until an individual is granted deferred action, DHS may initiate deportation proceedings at any point of the application process.
You may qualify for DACA if you:
- Are under the age of 31 as of June 15,2015;
- Came to the United State before reaching your 16th birthday;
- Have continuously resided in the United States since June 15, 2017 to present;
- Were physically present in the United States on June 15, 2012, and at the time of making your request for consideration of deferred action with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services;
- Are currently in school, have graduated or obtained a certificate of completion from high school, have obtained a state-recognized high school equivalency certificate, or are an honorable discharged veteran of the Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the United States and
- Have not been convicted of a felony, significant misdemeanor, or three or more other misdemeanors, and does not otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety.
To request a DACA for the first time, Click Here
Need help paying your application fee? Click Here to learn about the DACA Lending Circle
Frequently Asked Questions
Click here to view an interactive graphic that will let you know if you are eligible for Deferred Action.
*FAQs provided by ImmigrationEquality.org (http://immigrationequality.org/issues/immigration-basics/daca/)
What does “deferred action” mean?
Deferred action is a discretionary grant of relief by DHS. It can be granted to individuals who are in removal proceedings, who have final orders of removal, or who have never been in removal proceedings. Individuals who have deferred action status can apply for employment authorization and are in the U.S. under color of law. However, there is no direct path from deferred action to lawful permanent residence or to citizenship and it can be revoked at any time.
Who is eligible for DACA relief?
What is a significant misdemeanor?
How old do I have to be to apply for deferred action?
In general you must be at least 15 years of age at the time you apply. The exception to this rule is if you are in removal proceedings, have a final order of removal or have an order of voluntary departure, then you can seek DACA even if you are below the age of 15.
I am not currently in school, but would like to re-enroll in high school. Could I qualify?
Yes, to be considered “currently in school” USCIS will look to whether you are enrolled at the time you submit your application.
What types of school qualify under the DACA program?
Will a brief interruption in the requirement to be in the U.S. continuously from June 15, 2007 to July 15, 2012 affect my eligibility for deferred action?
Where and how do I apply for deferred action?
All applications for deferred action will be submitted directly to a USCIS lockbox on the new DACA form. Even if you are in removal proceedings or have been ordered removed, the application still goes to USCIS. If you are detained, then you should alert your detention officer that you want to apply.
What forms will I need to submit?
How much does it cost to seek DACA?
The total fees for the application (including an application for an Employment Authorization Document and background check) will be $465. In other words, the deferred application form itself is free but you must apply for and submit fees for the employment authorization document application and the biometrics fee.
What if I can’t pay the fees?
If I am granted deferred action, will I be entitled to work?
Every individual who is granted deferred action will be lawfully permitted to work. In order to be permitted to work, you must include an application for an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) in your application, which, when granted, will be valid for a period of two years and may be renewed. You must wait until the EAD is issued prior to accepting employment.
If I am granted deferred action, does that mean I have acquired legal status?
The grant of deferred action does not grant legal status to an applicant. In addition, it does not cure such applicant’s previous periods of unlawful presence. However, an applicant who is granted deferred action will not be deemed to be accruing unlawful presence in the U.S. during the time period when deferred action is in effect.
If I am granted deferred action can I travel outside the United States?
You can only travel outside the U.S. if you apply for, pay the fee ($360) and receive advanced parole after being granted deferred action and before traveling. Generally advanced parole is only granted for humanitarian reasons, educational, or employment reasons. If you leave the U.S. without advanced parole being granted or before a decision has been made on your deferred action application, you will not be permitted back into the United States.
If my application for deferred action is denied, can I file an appeal?
No. A denial of an application for deferred action cannot be appealed though you could file again (and pay the fee again.)
Is there any risk in applying for deferred action?
Yes, you should only apply after consulting with a qualified attorney. If you are here unlawfully and USCIS or ICE finds that you do not meet the criteria for deferred action, you may be placed in removal proceedings. Additionally, even if you are granted deferred action, the status is completely discretionary and can be revoked in the future.
Is the passing of the DREAM Act still necessary?
Yes. Deferred action is only a temporary measure and is not intended to, and does not grant, legal status to the individuals that the DREAM Act seeks to benefit. Given that only Congress can confer the right to legal permanent resident status or citizenship, it is essential that we continue to work towards the passage of the DREAM Act.
How can I get more information?
There are several great web-resources available. Educators for Fair Consideration has a step-by-step DACA guide. National Immigrant Justice Center is working on an online tool which will allow you to determine your DACA eligibility. And if you are a lawyer seeking further information, we urge you to read the AIC, AILA NIP practice advisory on DACA.