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Deferred action for childhood arrivals

Lots of people come to the US searching for a better life. Sometimes they do it not in a lawful manner. Sometimes they happen to be children.

The United States of America, US Citizenship and Immigration Services and the Department of Homeland Security do their best to solve the problem of illegal immigration. They work closely to help immigrant obtain lawful status while protecting national security and public safety.

Several years ago US Government took the first step to make young illegal immigrants welcome. Starting 15 June, 2012 immigrants under the age of 30 who came to the US as children – before their 16th birthday – could apply for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals or DACA.

What is DACA and how is it helping young immigrants?

Deferred action is a discretionary determination to defer removal actions against an individual for a certain period of time. In simple words, it is a promise by the government not to deport a young illegal immigrant for two years (subject to renewal). You have to understand that DACA does not provide citizenship. By no means does it give lawful status or a path to residency. But those individuals whose cases are deferred will not be removed from the country and may also receive employment authorization.

Who can apply?

It is essential you understand that DACA eligibility process is rigorous. Each case is considered individually; those who are chosen are picked on a case-by-case basis. A prospective applicant must meet multiple criteria:

  • You must be under 31 years of age (as of June, 2012) and came to the America before you were 16;
  • You have to be continuously present in the US since June 2007 up to the present time and at the time of your DACA request;
  • It is important that you do not have lawful status;
  • Obviously you should have no criminal record;
  • And last but not the least, you have to be enrolled or have graduated from school or university; or have received a General Education Certificate (GED); or be an honorably discharged veteran of the Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the United States.

In general, you have to be 15 or older to apply for DACA. Exceptions might be made for those who are currently in removal proceedings.

How to apply?

If you meet the above mentioned criteria you have to collect supporting documents and mail them to USCIS together with $465 in fees (non-refundable). You also have to submit your biometrics. To support your case you have to collect the following documentation:

  • Proof of identity – it could be your passport or national ID from your country of origin; birth certificate with your photo; school or military ID with photo;
  • Proof of your immigration status – Form I-94/I-95/I-94W with official stay expiration date; a document placing you in removal proceedings; final order of removal, deportation, or exclusion;
  • Proof that you came to the US before you were 16 and have been continuously present in the US – this includes but is not limited to: passport with official admission stamp; birth certificates of children born in the United States; Form I-94/I-95/I-94W; US school records; medical records; travel records; records of employment; deeds, mortgages and other contracts; dated bank transactions or money orders;
  • Proof of your student status – official records from US school you are currently enrolled with; US high school diploma; US GED certificate;
  • Proof you are an honorably discharged veteran of the Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the U.S. – military personnel records or military health records; Form DD-214; NGB Form 22.

If you have any questions on DACA or any other immigration issues contact our lawyers at the Office of Katerina Utekhina.


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