What is the DACA program?
The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals or DACA program is an initiative implemented by the administration of former President Obama in 2012. It protects people who came to the US as minors from deportation, but must be renewed every two years to remain in Deferred Action. Failure to renew could result in deportation. It also allows people who have come to the country as undocumented children to receive temporary work permits, driver's licenses and a social security number.
Who Qualifies for the DACA program?
- You were under the age of 31 as of June 15, 2012
- Came to the United States before reaching your 16th birthday
- You have continuously resided in the United States since June 15, 2007, to the present
- Was physically present in the United States on June 15, 2012, and at the time of filing the request for Consideration of Deferred Action with USCIS
- Had no legal status on June 15, 2012
- You are currently in school, have graduated or obtained a certificate of completion from high school, have earned a General Education Development Certificate (GED), or are an honorably discharged veteran of the Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the United States, and
- You have not been convicted of a felony, significant misdemeanor, or three or more misdemeanors, and in no other way constitutes a threat to national security or public safety.
What happened recently with the DACA program?
On December 7, 2020, a US District Court issued a ruling ordering USCIS to reinstate the program's requirements and benefits before the program was terminated in September 2017. This includes:
- Accepting first-time applications to consider deferred action under Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) under the terms of the DACA policy in effect prior to September 5, 2017 and in accordance with the Court's order of 4 December 2020;
- Accept DACA renewal requests based on the terms of the DACA policy in effect prior to September 5, 2017 and in accordance with the court order of December 4, 2020;
- Accept requests for advance parole documents based on the terms of the DACA policy prior to September 5, 2017 and in accordance with the court order of December 4, 2020;
- Extend deferred action grants for one year under DACA to two years;
- Extend employment authorization documents from one year under DACA to two years.
With this new order, DACA recipients who previously received their deferred action for one year will automatically have their grant updated to two years. For individuals who received an EAD (employment authorization card) for one year, they will receive a notice from USCIS by January 8, 2021, which can be used as proof that they have been granted a work authorization for two years. A new EAD also occurred 30 days before your current card expires.
Are there new applications for DACA?
YES. If you qualify for deferred action under the original DACA requirements (listed above) you can still apply today. With some form of amnesty being more and more likely getting gaining Deferred Action might become more and more important in regards to making these dreams, a reality.
I have DACA, how does the new memorandum affect me?
Everything is positive. and people who have received their work permit for one year. With this memorandum, as we listed above, DACA recipients who previously received their deferred action for one year will automatically have their grant updated to two years. For individuals who received an EAD (employment authorization card) for one year, they will receive a notice from USCIS by January 8, 2021, which can be used as proof that they have been granted a work authorization for two years. A new EAD also occurred 30 days before your current card expires.
So can I renew my DACA?
Yes, as the USCIS has resumed renewing and accepting new applications. Renewals just like initial application or petitions are for two years.
And is that memorandum final?
For the moment, yes. Immigration Law is much like the US Constitution in that these laws are living breathing documents where the rules change depending on a variety of factors one of which being which party is in charge.
I already have DACA, how do I renew it?
Complete and sign:
- Form I-821D (i-821d.pdf), Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals
- Make sure to use the most recent version of Form I-821D. We make sure all our documents are updated for our clients because we never can be sure what detail could be make or break for our clients' case.
- If you previously received DACA and your DACA expired on or after February 2019, you can still submit your DACA petition as a renewal petition. Please indicate the date your previous DACA expired in the appropriate box in Part 1 of Form I-821D.
- If you previously received DACA and your DACA expired before March 2019, or your most recent DACA grant was previously canceled, you cannot apply for DACA as a renewal (since renewal requests usually must be filed within with in one year from the expiration date of your last approved period of deferred action under DACA), but you can still file a new initial DACA petition, in accordance with the instructions for Form I-821D and Form I-821D. I-765. If you are filing an initial DACA request because your DACA expired before March 2019, or because it was canceled at any time, please write the date your previous DACA ended, if available.
- Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization
- Use the most recent version of Form I-765 available on our website, or USCIS will deny your application.
- Form I-765WS, Worksheet (PDF, 238.52 KB).
- Follow the instructions on the three forms to file them with USCIS. Be sure to submit the correct fees or an approved fee waiver request.
For initial DACA applications, please check out our collaborative approach and if we are not what you are looking for then find another law firm that is a good fit. Do not go at it alone to much is at stake.
Can a person who is granted DACA legally work in the United States?
Can eligible persons also apply for protection for their parents and siblings?
No. The request for DACA and the benefit of non-deportation is exclusively for minors who meet the requirements of the law. DAPA is not in effect as of the writing of this answer, but Immigration laws are fluid and this could change.
How and when can people apply for DACA?
Use our site and our collaborative approach to assist you or hire someone else. This is not something that you do not want to pay an attorney to help you with. Generally for less that a couple thousand dollars you can get help that might make or break your case.
Completing forms is just the start. The applicant must present sufficient evidence about his good character, his residence, his arrival in the United States, his studies, just to begin. The completed file is submitted to the USCIS. Once the USCIS determines that the application is complete, it will issue a receipt notice or I-797 and schedule an appointment to have the applicant fingerprinted. Failure to complete all the steps timely and correctly could lead to a denial. DACA is not a mandatory approval the USCIS has discretion.
What forms must be submitted?
The following three forms:
Form I-821D, Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals
Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization; and
Form I-765WS, Form I-765 Worksheet.