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 does not provide an individual with lawful status rather it is a discretionary determination to defer removal (deportation) of an individual.
To be eligible to apply for deferred action you must:
- Be under the age of 31 as of June 15, 2012;
- Have entered the United States before reaching your 16th birthday;
- Have entered without inspection before or your status expired as of June 15, 2012;
- Have continuously resided in the United States since June 15, 2007 to the present time;
- Have been physically present in the United States on June 15, 2012;
- Are currently in school, have graduated or obtained a certificate of completion from high school, have obtained a general education development (GED) certificate, or are an honorably discharged veteran of the Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the United States; and
- Have not been convicted of a felony, significant misdemeanor, three or more other misdemeanors, and do not otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety.
You must complete and sign the following three forms:
- Form I-821D, Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals;
- Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization; and
- Form I-765W Worksheet.
Submit the forms to USCIS with the filing fees in the total amount of $465.00 and two passport-style photographs.
On June 4, 2014, the Secretary of Homeland Security announced the process for DACA recipients to renew their status in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.
You should request U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services to renew your DACA about 120 days (about 4 months) before your current grant of deferred action will expire.
You may request a renewal of DACA as long as you have continuously resided in the United States since you submitted your last DACA application, you have not left the United States on or after August 15, 2012 without advance parole, and you have not been convicted of a felony, a significant misdemeanor, or three or more misdemeanors, and do not otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety.
Contact us at Habich Law to assist you with the process of seeking Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) for the first time or to renew.
Some Frequently Asked Questions:
1. Does DACA apply to me if I am currently in removal proceedings, have a final removal order, or have a voluntary departure order?
This process is open to any individual who can demonstrate he or she meets the guidelines for DACA, including those who have never been in removal proceedings as well as those in removal proceedings, with a final order, or with a voluntary departure order (as long as they are not in immigration detention).
2. Do I accrue unlawful presence if I have a pending initial request for consideration of DACA?
You will continue to accrue unlawful presence while your request for consideration of DACA is pending unless you are less than 18 years of age at the time of the request. If you are under 18 years of age at the time you submit your request, you will not accrue unlawful presence while the request is pending, even if you turn 18 while your request is still pending with USCIS. You will not accrue unlawful presence during the period of deferred action. However, having action deferred on your case will not excuse previously accrued unlawful presence.
3. If my case is deferred under DACA, will I be able to travel outside of the United States?
You must first apply for advance parole by filing a Form I-131, Application for Travel Document and paying the applicable fee. USCIS will determine whether your purpose for travel out of the United States is justifiable based on the circumstances you describe in your request. Generally, USCIS will only grant advance parole if your travel abroad is for:
- humanitarian purposes, including travel to obtain medical treatment, attending funeral services for a family member, or visiting an ailing relative;
- educational purposes, such as semester-abroad programs and academic research, or;
- employment purposes such as overseas assignments, interviews, conferences or, training, or meetings with clients overseas.
Travel for vacation is not a valid basis for advance parole.
4. What offenses qualify as a felony?
A felony is a federal, state, or local criminal offense punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year.
5. If I have a minor traffic offense, such as driving without a license, will it make me ineligible to receive prosecutorial discretion under DACA?
A minor traffic offense will not be considered a misdemeanor for purposes of this process. However, your entire offense history can be considered along with other facts to determine whether, under the totality of the circumstances, you warrant an exercise of prosecutorial discretion.