U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will expand Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals on Feb. 18, 2015. Those eligible for this program can apply on or after that date. To qualify for expanded DACA, you must have:
- Arrived in the U.S. before age 16;
- Continuously resided in the U.S. since January 1, 2010, up to the present;
- Been physically present in the United States on November 20, 2014, and at the time of making your request for consideration of deferred action;
- Entered without inspection before November 20, 2014 or your lawful immigration status expired as of November 20, 2014;
- Graduated or obtained a Certificate of Completion from high school, have obtained a GED, be currently in school or are an honorably discharged veteran of the Coast Guard or U.S. armed forces; and
- Not been convicted of a felony, a significant misdemeanor, or three or more other misdemeanors, and do not otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety.
Keep in mind that deferred action does protect you from deportation (“removal”) from the U.S., but it is not “amnesty” and does not lead to permanent residence (green card) or citizenship. It is temporary three-year status that can be renewed indefinitely. However, renewal is not guaranteed. The president can change the policy at any time. Unlike permanent residence, citizenship, or even a visa, deferred action is not an immigration status. If your initial application or renewal request is denied, you can be deported.
Please keep in mind that immigration applications are never “just forms.” There are complex legal rules and consequences to every application. Before you make the decision to apply for deferred action, talk to a qualified immigration attorney to see if the rewards of deferred action outweigh the risks and find out if you have other options.
For help with your DACA application, click here.
NOTE: Immigration law changes frequently. The resources and information provided on this web site are intended to help you understand basic issues involved in the immigration process, and are offered only for general informational and educational purposes. This information is not offered as, nor does it constitute legal advice or legal opinions. Although we strive to keep this information current, we neither promise nor guarantee that the information is the latest available, or that it applies to your specific situation. You should not act or rely upon the information in these pages without seeking the advice of an attorney.