Immigration Law

Deferred Action For Childhood Arrivals

Doctor speaking with patient

Due to federal court orders, USCIS is accepting DACA renewal requests; however, new applicants are unable to apply, only those who have had DACA at some point in the past.

To qualify for DACA under the original guidelines, a person must meet the following requirements:

  1. He or she came to the United States under the age of sixteen;
  2. He or she has continuously resided in the United States for at least five years before June 15, 2012, and continues to reside in the United States at the present time;
  3. He or she is currently in school, has graduated from high school, has obtained a general education development certificate (GED), or is an honorably discharged veteran of the Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the United States;
  4. Has not been convicted of a felony offense, a significant misdemeanor offense; multiple misdemeanor offenses, or otherwise poses a threat to national security or public safety; and
  5. Is not above the age of thirty.

Deferred action is not the same thing as legal status and does not mean that a person can apply for a green card or U.S. citizenship. If the government grants deferred action, that status is valid for two years, after which time the person may apply to renew that status.

Even if a person’s DACA case is approved, he or she cannot travel outside the United States without first obtaining permission from USCIS by applying for a travel document called Advance Parole. At this time, Advanced Parole based on DACA is not available. In order to qualify for Advance Parole, a person must show a need to travel for educational, employment, or humanitarian reasons. Failure to obtain Advance Parole prior to leaving the United States means that the DACA recipient will not be able to re-enter the United States.

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