DACA - Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals
The program expires after two years, subject to renewal.
Do not apply for an initial or DACA renewal if you have a recent criminal history, as this may make you a priority for removal and provide the government with the information it needs to deport you. Consult with the attorney in such cases.
What Is DACA?
Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) is a kind of administrative relief from deportation. The purpose of DACA is to protect eligible immigrant youth who came to the United States when they were children from deportation. DACA gives young undocumented immigrants: 1) protection from deportation, and 2) a work permit. The program expires after two years, subject to renewal.
PLEASE NOTE: DACA does not grant a path to permanent residency or citizenship. The DREAM Act, which would lead to permanent residency, has NOT passed. It is very likely the President-elect Trump will end this program when he takes office on January 20, 2017. As such, undocumented youth should not submit NEW initial DACA applications at this time, but wait to see whether the program will sunset, or whether the new Administration will continue it. We do recommend that if already have DACA and if your DACA is expiring within the next year, that you apply for renewal at this time, especially since the fees are also going up on December 23, 2016.
- You were under 31 years old as of June 15, 2012;
- You first came to the United States before your 16th birthday;
- You have lived continuously in the United States from June 15, 2007 until the present;
- You were physically present in the United States on June 15, 2012 and at the time you apply;
- You came to the United States without documents before June 15, 2012, or your lawful status expired as of June 15, 2012;
- You are currently studying, or you graduated from high school or earned a certificate of completion of high school or GED, or have been honorably discharged from the Coast Guard or military (technical and trade school completion also qualifies); and
- You have NOT been convicted of a felony, certain significant misdemeanors (including a single DUI), or three or more misdemeanors of any kind. Consult with an attorney about ANY contact you have had with law enforcement or immigration authorities.
- Get Help: Don’t apply alone. Contact The Law office of Irina Vinogradsky, LLC for legal help.
- Collect Evidence: See below for a detailed list of required documents. Remember to only send copies (not originals) of supporting documents.
- Complete Applications:
- Submit Applications: Include all supporting documents, two photos and fees. The fee is $495.00 (pay using a check or money order payable to Department of Homeland Security).
- Where you file depends on your state of residence;
Residence of Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Maryland, Maine, Michigan, Nevada, North Carolina, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Virginia, Vermont, Washington, Wisconsin, or West Virginia.
USCIS Chicago Lockbox Facility
P.O. Box 5757
Chicago, IL 60680-5757
- Background Check and Fingerprints: You will receive a receipt by mail that contains your receipt number and an appointment notice to get your fingerprints taken for a background check.
- Final Steps: Once you have been fingerprinted, you will receive either a letter asking for additional information (called a Request for Evidence) or a final decision. Most applicants receive a final decision 5-6 months from the date they apply.
Documents to collect
Start collecting supporting documents for your application – the more organized you are, the easier the process will be!
Proof of Identity and Date of Birth
- Birth Certificate
- Consular I.D./National I.D./Cédula
- School ID
Proof That You Were Physically Present in the U.S. on 6/15/2012
- A verifiable, formal document with your name and the date 6/15/2012; or
- An official document with your name and a date just before 6/15/2012, and another dated just after 6/15/12.
(Examples: school records, pay check stubs, bank statements, credit card receipts, etc.)
Proof You Had 5 Years of Continuous Residence in the U.S. (June 2007 – June 2012)
(If you don’t have school records/transcripts showing that you were present in the U.S. continuously for the past 5 years, provide 1 document for every three months from June 2007 through June 2012).
- School Records
- Financial Records (taxes, bank statements, credit card bills, rent receipts, utility bills, phone bills)
- Employment Records (pay stubs)
- Medical Records (physicals, vaccination records, prescriptions, dental records, etc.)
- Other records: religious certificates, volunteer records, personal statements, etc.
Proof You Are In School, Have a High School Diploma/GED, or Were Honorably Discharged from the Military
- School Transcript or Report Cards if currently studying;
- High School Diploma or GED Certificate; or
- Military Discharge Papers
Proof That You Entered the U.S. Before the Age of 16
- School Records
- Medical Records (vaccinations, physicals, etc.)
- Expired Visa, I-94 card, or Passport with Entry Stamp
- Discuss other forms of proof with a legal advisor
Proof That You Are Not Ineligible Due to a Criminal Conviction or a Threat to National Security/Public Safety
- All applicants will be fingerprinted and subject to a background check of all police, juvenile, and immigration records. If you have ever had contact with the police or immigration authorities, get a copy of your records to review with an attorney before applying for DACA. We can explain how to do this. (Examples: criminal court records, juvenile court records, driving record from DMV, state criminal background check results, FBI background check results, etc.)
- Two passport-size color photos.
WHO CAN APPLY FOR DACA RENEWAL?
Only persons who already have an approved DACA case are eligible for renewal.
You are still eligible for DACA renewal even if:
- You are now over 31. You cannot age out of the program.
- You have graduated or are studying at a different school or program.
WHEN TO APPLY FOR DACA RENEWAL?
Apply at least 150 days before your DACA and work permit expire. However, USCIS is now accepting applications more than 150 days prior to the expiration date, so you can apply as early in advance as you want to. If you apply for renewal in this time range, you should receive an approval notice and new work permit before your current one expires.
It is important to apply for renewal on time to avoid losing protection from deportation, being without valid work authorization, and accruing unlawful presence once your Deferred Action relief expires.
WHAT’S THE PROCESS?
- Get Help: If you’re a Berkeley student, contact firstname.lastname@example.org for legal support.
- Calculate When to Apply for Renewal: Submit your application at least 150 days (5 months) before your DACA and work permit expire. We do not recommend filing it any later than four months in advance.
- Complete Applications:
- Form I-821D – Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). Indicate this is a renewal application and only complete sections required for renewal applicants. Provide updated information in those sections.
- Form I-765 – Application for Employment Authorization (EAD). Indicate the application is for a renewal EAD (work permit). List your current status as “DACA recipient,” and for question 16 the eligibility category is (C)(33).
- Form I-765WS – Worksheet. Briefly explain your economic need to work.
- Submit Applications: Include two passport photos, copy of current work permit and fee. The fee is $495.00. Pay using a check or money order payable to the Department of Homeland Security. Mailing address for California residents:
USCIS Phoenix Lockbox, P.O. Box 20700, Phoenix, Arizona 85036-0700
- Schedule Appointment: You will receive a receipt by mail and a biometrics (fingerprinting) appointment notice.
- Final Steps: After being fingerprinted, you will receive either a letter asking for additional information (called a Request for Evidence) or a final decision.
WHAT DO I INCLUDE IN THE RENEWAL APPLICATION?
Your renewal application is an update to your initial application. Update your address, any travel you did under advance parole, any arrests or criminal issues that took place since your initial application, and any contact with immigration authorities or the immigration court since your first application.
Make sure that the information in your renewal application is consistent with your initial DACA application. If you need a copy of your initial application, you can request one by filing Form G-639 with USCIS. If your address has changed, include the new address on the application and complete a change of address with USCIS, which you must complete any time your address changes.
You do not need to submit or re-submit any documentation with your renewal application — just a copy of your work permit.
The exception is if there has been a change since your initial application regarding your Immigration Record (your case is pending in immigration court, you were detained by immigration authorities, etc.), or your Criminal Record (you were arrested, detained, and/or convicted of a crime). If either of these apply to you, consult an attorney, make sure your application reflects this new information, and submit evidence that this change in your situation does not impact your DACA eligibility (for example, the court disposition regarding a criminal case or an immigration judge’s order closing your case).
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I obtain a fee exemption for this process?
There are no fee waivers available for employment authorization applications connected to DACA. For DACA application you may submit a request in a letter form proving that :
- You are under 18 years of age, have an income that is less than 150 percent of the U.S. poverty level, and are in foster care or otherwise lacking any parental or other familial support; or
- You are under 18 years of age and homeless; or
- You cannot care for yourself because you suffer from a serious, chronic disability and your income is less than 150 percent of the U.S. poverty level; or
- You have, at the time of the request, accumulated $10,000 or more in debt in the past 12 months as a result of unreimbursed medical expenses for yourself or an immediate family member, and your income is less than 150 percent of the U.S. poverty level.
Can I apply for DACA if I am currently on F-1 visa?
No. You can only request consideration of DACA under this process if you currently have no immigration status and were not in any lawful status on June 15, 2012. So if you have a nonimmigrant status such as F-1, E-2, H-4 or you have TPS you cannot obtain DACA. For purposes of DACA, Temporary Protected Status is considered a lawful status.
If my case is approved under DACA, am I in lawful status for the period of deferral?
No. Although your DACA petition is approved and you do not accrue unlawful presence (for admissibility purposes) during the period of deferred action, you are not in any lawful status but you are considered to be lawfully present in the United States. Your goal must be to adjust your status through your family (based on marriage to the US citizen or your son or daughter's petition) or adjust your status through employment.
How can I apply for a drivers license through deferral action?
You need to wait for your DACA to be approved first, obtain the approval & issuance of your work permit, apply for a SSN, then go to the DMV and apply for a driver's license.
For more information about DACA go the USCIS website.
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