Applying For Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)
On November 14, 2020, Judge Nicholas George Garaufis of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York issued an opinion regarding the July 28, 2020 memorandum signed by Acting Secretary Chad F. Wolf. On December 4, 2020, Judge Garaufis required the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to take certain actions to implement his November 14 opinion. As a result, effective December 7, 2020, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is:
- Accepting first-time requests for consideration of deferred action under Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) based on the terms of the DACA policy in effect prior to September 5, 2017, and in accordance with the Court’s December 4, 2020, order;
- Accepting DACA renewal requests based on the terms of the DACA policy in effect prior to September 5, 2017, and in accordance with the Court’s December 4, 2020, order;
- Accepting applications for advance parole documents based on the terms of the DACA policy prior to September 5, 2017, and in accordance with the Court’s December 4, 2020, order;
- Extending one-year grants of deferred action under DACA to two years; and
- Extending one-year employment authorization documents under DACA to two years.
USCIS will take appropriate steps to provide evidence of the one-year extensions of deferred action and employment authorization documents under DACA to individuals who were issued documentation on or after July 28, 2020, with a one-year validity period under the Wolf Memorandum.
DHS will comply with Judge Garaufis’ order while it remains in effect, but DHS may seek relief from the order. This means that DACA survives (for now). My office and I are ready to assist eligible individuals. To learn more or get help, contact my office at 714-559-6190 or submit a casework form here.
WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR ME?
- DACA recipients continue to be protected from deportation and will continue to benefit from work authorization;
- The government will continue accepting DACA renewal applications; and
- The government IS now begin accepting DACA applications, from first-time applicants and accepting applications for Advance Parole (requests for travel for education, employment, or humanitarian grounds).*
- It is unclear whether the government will accept new initial applications and/or take action in compliance with the decision to terminate DACA again.
*COVID-19 pandemic may prohibit travel and there may be additional risks. Please consult an immigration attorney before proceeding with an initial application or an application for Advanced Parole.
CAN FIRST-TIME APPLICANTS APPLY FOR DACA?
Yes. The Department of Homeland Security has directed USCIS to accept and process first time applicaitons. USCIS will be accepting first-time requests for consideration of deferred action under Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) based on the terms of the DACA policy in effect prior to September 5, 2017, and in accordance with the Court’s December 4, 2020, order.
WHAT IS THE CRITERIA TO APPLY FOR DACA?
- Thirty (30) years old or younger as of June 15, 2012,
- Entered the United States before the age of sixteen (16)
- Physically present in the U.S. on June 15, 2012
- Continuously resided in the U.S. since June 15, 2007
- Currently in school;
- Have graduated from High School or obtained GED; or
- Honorably discharged from the military.
- Have not been convicted of a felony or serious/multiple misdemeanor or pose a threat to the national security of the U.S.
Note: Prior orders of removal do not impact eligibility
WHAT DOCUMENTS ARE NEEDED TO BEGIN THIS APPLICATION PROCESS?
- Birth Certificate
- Copy of government-issued identification (i.e. passport, consular ID)
- Two passport photos
- High School Diploma, GED, or proof of current enrollment in school
- Documentation establishing a presence in the U.S. on June 15, 2012
- Documentation establishing a physical presence in the U.S. from June 15, 2007, through the present (need multiple documents for each year).
- Certified Criminal Records (if applicable)
- Payment to Department of Homeland Security in the amount of $495.00
- Legal fees paid to an immigration attorney or DOJ accredited representative
Where Do I Apply?
To apply for DACA, visit USCIS’s website and fill out Form I-821D, Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. USCIS will provide additional instructions and information. If you are experiencing difficulties with your application, please contact my office at (714) 559-6190 or request casework assistance here.