The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program was introduced in 2012 to temporarily relieve individuals brought to the United States as children and meet specific criteria. Under DACA, eligible individuals receive deferred action on their immigration status, allowing them to remain in the U.S. without fear of deportation and providing them with the opportunity to obtain work authorization.
To determine if you qualify for DACA, you must meet the following criteria:
- Age Requirement: You must have been under 31 as of June 15, 2012.
- Age at Entry: You must have entered the U.S. before age 16.
- Continuous Residence: You must have resided in the U.S. since June 15, 2007.
- Physical Presence: You must have been physically present in the U.S. on June 15, 2012, and when you submitted your DACA application.
- Education or Military Service: You must be enrolled in school, have graduated or obtained a certificate of completion from high school, have obtained a general education development (GED) certificate, or have been honorably discharged from the U.S. military.
- Criminal History: You must not have been convicted of a felony, significant misdemeanor, or three or more other misdemeanors. Specific criminal history may disqualify you from DACA eligibility.
- Age at Application: You can apply for DACA if you are at least 15 years old unless you are in removal proceedings or have a final removal or voluntary departure order.
- Form I-821D: This form is used to request deferred action under DACA.
- Form I-765: This form is used to apply for employment authorization.
- Supporting Documentation: You must provide evidence to support your eligibility, such as documents proving your age, continuous residence, education, and other requirements.
- Filing Fee: There is a filing fee associated with the DACA application. In some instances, fee waivers may be available.
Benefits of DACA
DACA provides several significant benefits to eligible individuals:
- Protection from Deportation: DACA recipients are granted deferred action, meaning they are protected from deportation for a specified period.
- Work Authorization: DACA recipients are eligible to obtain work authorization, allowing them to work legally in the U.S.
- Social Security Number: DACA recipients can apply for a Social Security Number, enabling them to work, pay taxes, and access certain benefits.
Navigating DACA eligibility can be complex, and ensuring that your application is thorough and accurate is essential. As experienced immigration attorneys, we’re here to guide you through the process, helping you understand your eligibility, gather the necessary documents, and submit a robust application.
If you are considering DACA, click here to tell us more about your case. We’ll reach back with a link for you to schedule a free consultation with our immigration lawyer best suited for your situation.