Update: DACA is ending
- USCIS are no longer accepting initial or renewal requests for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. DACA requests received from residents of the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico will be considered on a case-by-case basis.
- If you are a current DACA recipient and your still-valid Employment Authorization Document (EAD) has been lost, stolen or destroyed, you may request a replacement EAD by filing a new Form I-765 at any time, if the EAD is still valid.
- USCIS will no longer approve advance parole requests associated with DACA.
- Read the 2017 DACA announcement.
On June 15, 2012, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) introduced Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). DACA is an opportunity for certain people who came to the United States as children to affirmatively request a grant of deferred action from DHS on their immigration cases for a period of two years, subject to renewal.
Deferred action does not provide lawful status; it merely allows an individual in the United States to remain in the country for a period in which DHS agrees not to take any enforcement action against that individual for being in the country without lawful status. For those in removal proceedings, a grant of deferred action means that the government will not pursue their immigration case for the time during which deferred action is granted.
If approved, a DACA recipient is also eligible to receive employment authorization from DHS. Keep in mind that deferred action is a discretionary form of relief and may be revoked or cancelled at any time at the discretion of DHS.
Individuals are eligible to apply for DACA if they:
- Were under the age of 31 as of June 15, 2012 and are at least 15 years old at the time of submitting a request for DACA;
- If the applicant is in removal proceedings, has a final removal order, or has a voluntary departure order, he/she may be younger than 15 years old at the time the request is submitted.
- Arrived in the United States before turning 16 years old;
- Have continuously resided in the United States from June 15, 2007, to present;
- Travel that could be described as brief, causal or innocent that took place on or after June 15, 2007, but before August 15, 2012, does not affect continuous residence.
- Were physically present in the United States on June 15, 2012, and at the time of making the request for DACA;
- Had no lawful status on June 15, 2012;
- Fulfill one of the following:
- 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, or three or more other misdemeanors, and do not otherwise pose a threat to national security/public safety.
To apply for DACA, applicants must file Forms I-821D, I-765, and I-765WS. The current filing fee can be found on the USCIS website.
Applicants will need to provide proof of meeting all the above requirements, including:
- Proof of identity;
- Proof they came to the U.S. before their sixteenth birthday;
- Proof of immigration status on June 15, 2012;
- Proof of presence in the U.S. on June 15, 2012;
- Proof of continuous residence in the U.S. since June 15, 2007; and
- Proof of student status at the time of requesting DACA.
Examples of these documents can include: passports, birth certificates, immigration documents, school records, travel records, tax receipts, bank documentation, I-94s, employment records, military records, etc. A full list of possible evidence can be found on the USCIS website.
Applicants should submit the above evidence, appropriately organized, with the I-821D, I-765, and I-765WS forms and correct filing fee to the correct USCIS Lockbox as indicated on the website. Note that Form I-765 requires two passport-style photographs of the applicant to be submitted.
After USCIS has received the forms, they will issue a biometrics appointment notice with a date, time, and location for USCIS to collect biometric information from the applicant. Failure to attend the biometrics appointment may be considered by USCIS to be an abandonment of the DACA request at that time.
After the biometrics information is collected and a background check is conducted on an applicant, USCIS will review Form I-821D and determine whether to grant deferred action or not. If DACA is granted, USCIS can take an additional 90 days to review the I-765 form and make a determination on whether to grant work authorization or not. Typically, both applications are adjudicated at the same time.
If approved, USCIS will mail approval notices and a work authorization card valid for two years to the applicant or the attorney of record.
International Travel: Individuals who have been approved for DACA may request an advance parole document to allow them to travel abroad and return to the U.S. under certain circumstances, including humanitarian, education, or work purposes. Only after USCIS has approved the DACA application can an applicant file Form I-131 to request advance parole to travel outside the United States. Please note that an applicant cannot travel while the DACA request is still under review or before receiving advance parole. If an applicant travels outside the United States before receiving advance parole, USCIS will automatically terminate his/her pending DACA request or grant of DACA, whichever is applicable to the case.
Criminal Activity: If an applicant has a criminal record, s/he will need to submit copies of the criminal record. In addition, because DACA is a discretionary benefit, if an individual with DACA commits a crime or engages in a criminal activity that would render that individual ineligible for DACA under the above guidelines, DHS may, at its discretion, cancel that individual’s grant of DACA and institute removal proceedings against him/her.
DACA renewal applications include the same forms and filing fees as the initial request, but do not require the same supporting evidence as with the initial request, unless there have been significant changes to the previously submitted evidence. Renewal applications should include copies of the I-821D approval notice and current EAD card, and can be filed up to 150 days before expiration of the current DACA period. USCIS encourages applicants to apply no later than 120 days before expiration.