We have helped many young people apply for DACA. Contact us to see if applying is the right choice for you too.
What is DACA?
DACA stands for "Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals." Fundamentally, being approved under DACA means that the government is "deferring action" - or saying it won't take action - against undocumented young people for at least two years. DACA applicants are evaluated on a case-by-case basis. Approvals are granted by the government as an exercise of discretion. If you are approved once it is highly likely you will be approved again for additional two year periods.
How Will DACA Benefit Me?
DACA is good news for you if you arrived in the U.S. before you turned 16 and meet the other criteria below. If your DACA application is approved, you will be be authorized to work and are considered to be lawfully present in the U.S. In many states you will also be able to receive a driver's license.
Who is Eligible for DACA?
Here are the criteria you need to meet:
- You were age 31 or younger on June 15, 2012.
- You entered the United States before your 16th birthday.
- You are at least 15 years old when you submit your application, unless you are in removal proceedings or have a voluntary departure order or final removal order.
- You have continuously lived in the United States since June 15, 2007, up to the present time.
- You were in the United States on June 15, 2012, and in the U.S. when you submitted your application for deferred action.
- You entered without inspection before June 15, 2012 or your lawful immigration status expired by June 15, 2012.
- You are now 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 as a veteran of the U.S. Coast Guard or Armed Forces.
- You have not been convicted of a felony, significant misdemeanor, three or more other misdemeanors, and do not pose a threat to public safety or national security.
How Do I Apply for DACA?
The process takes some time but the final reward is clearly worth it for those who qualify.
- First, gather the key documents to prove you meet the requirements. Here are some types of documents that can help: Prove your identity by providing a copy of your birth certificate, school ID, or passport. Prove you came here before your 16th birthday by providing school or travel records. Demonstrate you've lived in the U.S. by coming up with employment records or utility bills. Prove you graduated through your diploma or that you were honorably discharged through your military records.
- Second, fill out two forms and pay a fee of $465.You'll need to complete Form I-821D, the new DACA application, along with Form I-765, the Employment Authorization application. The fee is expensive but keep in mind that it's worth it after you get your work authorization! The application costs $380 and there is an $85 biometrics (fingerprinting) fee. You should definitely consult with a free legal services provider or immigration attorney for help answering all the questions correctly. If you've ever had any issues with the law or are struggling to figure out how to gather the necessary documents, you especially need to talk with a professional.
- Third, mail in the forms to the correct spot. Look carefully at the mailing instructions on the DACA form I-821-D and double-check that your application is complete so the process is not delayed. Also sign up to receive email and text message notifications from USCIS by filling out Form G-1145.
- Fourth,attend your biometrics appointmentYou'll receive a notice scheduling you to visit an Application Service Center to have your fingerprints taken. Make sure you don't miss your appointment because USCIS may simply deny your application entirely.
How Will I Know If I'm Approved?
You will receive a notice in the mail from USCIS letting you know if you were approved or not. If they defer action for you, you will also receive an Employment Authorization document in a separate letter in the mail
We Can Help You
Unfortunately, if you aren't approved, there is no appeal and there is no legal option to file a motion to reconsider or reopen your application. So this is a key reason why if you apply for DACA you want to do it right and present the strongest possible case. We're here to help from the beginning. Contact us now to get started!