A Short Q&A on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)

If you’re concerned about your immigration status in the United States, or if you’ve been notified of deportation actions against you, you may be able to explore some options for relief. One such option is called Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). As long as you arrived in the US before your 16th birthday, DACA can help you in several possible ways.

What is DACA?

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals is a form of discretionary relief announced by the Secretary of Homeland Security in June 2012. It’s designed to help unlawful immigrants who came to the United States as children. If you qualify, it may give you relief against deportation and let you stay in the US for a limited period of time. It may also give you the authorization you need to find work.

What does it do?

If you qualify for deferred action, you don’t automatically get lawful status. DACA can delay any deportation actions that have been taken against you for two years, with the possibility of renewal. It can also make you eligible for work authorization, which will give you the legal right to work in the United States.

Who does it help?

There are two basic requirements for DACA: if you were brought to the US before your 16th birthday, and you were under the age of 31 on June 15, 2012, then you may be able to request deferred action. It only applies to eligible individuals, meaning it won’t provide any benefits to your family members.

What are the other requirements?

You must be 15 years or older to request DACA. Besides the age requirements, you’ll have to meet a few other criteria to qualify for DACA, such as the following:

  • You lived in the US continuously from June 15, 2007 until the present time.
  • You have been physically present in the US between June 15, 2012 and the time of your request for relief under DACA.
  • You entered the US unlawfully, or your lawful immigration status expired, before June 15, 2012,
  • You are currently enrolled in school, you graduated from a high school, you got your GED certificate, or you have been honorably discharged from the US military.
  • You haven’t been convicted of a felony, a serious misdemeanor, or three separate misdemeanors, and you don’t pose a threat to public safety or national security.

How do I prepare my application?

You’ll first need to gather documents to prove your identity, your age, your date of arrival, and other information about your stay in the US. For example, you may need to produce your birth certificate, passport, school or military ID, receipts, and records such as your school, medical, travel, and employment records.

How do I file my application?

You’ll need to fill out two forms: I-821D for DACA consideration and I-765 to request employment authorization. You’ll need to send the forms by mail and pay a filing fee for each. Check the USCIS website for precise filing instructions.

What happens next?

Once USCIS has received your application and fees, you will be asked to visit an Application Support Center (ASC) to collect biometrics like your fingerprints, photograph, and signature. If you are granted deferred action, you will be notified in the mail. USCIS will then review your employment authorization request within 90 days and send another decision by mail.

Unfortunately, if your application for DACA is rejected, you won’t be able to appeal the decision or try again. That’s all the more reason to work with a qualified immigration attorney throughout the application process. The compassionate lawyers at Sanchez-Roig Law Firm, P.A. will walk you through the procedures step-by-step and ensure you have all the correct forms and documents needed to file a successful application. Contact us today to find out if you’re eligible for deferred action.