On June 15, the USCIS began accepting applications for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (called DACA). Deferred Action is not a grant of lawful immigration status, nor does it give you a pathway to a green card or naturalization. DACA is merely a policy to allow individuals who were brought to the United States as children, a relief from accruing further unlawful presence and the ability to obtain work authorization and a social security number. As has been published in many places, the basic eligibility criteria are:
- Were under the age of 31 on June 15, 2012;
- Arrived in the United States before your 16th birthday;
- Continuously resided in the United States from June 15, 2007 to present;
- Were physically present in the United States on June 15, 2012, as well as at the time of application for DACA;
- On the date of application, are in school, have graduated or obtained a GED certificate or are honorably discharged from the US Armed Forces;
- Have not been convicted of a felony, significant misdemeanor or three or more other misdemeanors, and do not otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety.
The application forms for DACA are as follows:
- Form I-821D – Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals;
- Form I-765 – Application for Employment Authorization Document (EAD)
- Form I–765WS, EAD worksheet.
These forms can be obtained at www.uscis.gov/childhoodarrivals.
Unless you are in removal proceedings, you must be 15 years old at the time you file your application. You will need various forms of documentation to establish that you meet all of the eligibility criteria. These include tax returns, bank statements, pay stubs, school records, report cards, medical records, insurance records, rental agreements, or any other reliable evidence to show that you were in the United States during the relevant time periods.
There are no appeals if your Deferred Action application gets denied. So if you have any doubts about your eligibility and what documentation you need to qualify, seek the advice of an experienced immigration attorney. Beware of notarios or other non-attorneys who may charge you for processing your application. Shelley Kalita is a member of the American Association of Immigration Lawyers and stays informed on the latest USCIS interpretations and evaluation criteria to assist you in filing an application that will get you the best result for your case. Watch this blog for updates as clarifications are received from USCIS.