DACADeferred Action for Childhood Arrivals
Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, as it is more commonly known nationwide, is a form of relief that was made available to certain individuals who arrived in the U.S. as children. This form of relief is available to a very specific group of individuals residing in the United States without legal status.
If your DACA application is approved by the USCIS, you will receive an approval notice that grants you a two year stay in the U.S. and a work card for the same period. The work card will allow you to apply for a social security number and a driver’s license. With these documents, you will be able to obtain any job in the U.S. without employer sponsorship.
To help determine whether or not you are eligible to apply for DACA you must satisfy all of the following criteria:
- You arrived in the United States Before before turning 16.
- You are over the age of 15 and were under the age of 31 on June 15, 2012. Normally you have to be at least 15 years old at the time of your DACA application in order to qualify for DACA. However, if you were, or currently are in removal proceedings or are subject to a final removal or voluntary departure order, you could request DACA even if you are younger than 15.
- You are currently in school or obtained a high school diploma/GED certificate. Another way to satisfy this requirement is enrollment in an educational, literacy, vocational, or career training program that seeks to place students in post-secondary education, job training or employment, an English as a Second Language (ESL) program prerequisite to enrollment in post-secondary education, job training or employment, or an educational program that is funded in whole or in part by federal or state grants or is of demonstrated effectiveness and assists students in obtaining a high school diploma or in passing a GED exam. There are a number of different documents that can be used to satisfy this requirement, such as confirmation letter from school, but no circumstantial evidence will be accepted under this criterion.
- You have continuously resided in the United States since June 15, 2007. If you were outside of the United States for brief, casual and innocent absences during this period, you may still satisfy this criterion, but you will need to document and provide the reasons for the absence.
- You were physically present in the united states on June 15, 2012 and at the time of filing your DACA application.
- You were without lawful immigration status on June 15, 2012. If you entered the United States without inspection or without a valid visa, then you satisfy this criterion. Alternately, if you entered the U.S. with a visa and had valid status at some point, but it expired before June 15, 2012, you also satisfy this requirement.
- You have not been convicted of certain crimes. If you have no arrests or criminal history, then you satisfy this requirement. If you have been convicted of certain crimes, you may not qualify for DACA based on those convictions. If you have any criminal history such as arrests and convictions, it is very important to obtain a full record of all these convictions and have an attorney help you determine whether or not they will make you ineligible for DACA. For example, a DUI conviction disqualifies you from DACA eligibility.
If you satisfy all of the above requirements, then you most likely are eligible to apply for DACA. There are always other factors to consider, such as whether you are able to obtain sufficient proof and the proper evidence. Every case is unique, so it is a good idea to seek out the guidance and assistance of a qualified immigration attorney. If you have any additional questions about the DACA process or your eligibility, or if you would like to start your application, give us a call today.