Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (“DACA”) is an executive directive permitting individuals to request consideration of deferred action for a period of two years so long as they meet certain guidelines. Deferred action is a use of prosecutorial discretion to defer removal action against an individual for a certain period of time.

NOTICE (October 1, 2015): The expansion promised for this program remains in active litigation in federal court. Stay tuned for updates that may alter these requirements.

Currently, an applicant must meet rigorous guidelines to qualify for DACA. The applicant must have:

  • Been under the age of 31 as of June 15, 2012;
  • Arrived in the United States prior to reaching his 16th birthday;
  • Resided in the United States continuously since June 15, 2007, up to the present time;
  • Been physically present in the United States on June 15, 2012, and at the time of making his request for consideration of deferred action with USCIS;
  • Had no lawful status on June 15, 2012;
  • Graduated or obtained a certificate of completion from high school, obtained a general education development (GED) certificate, be currently attending school, or been an honorably discharged veteran of the Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the United States;
  • Not been convicted of a felony, significant misdemeanor, or three or more other misdemeanors;
  • Not otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety.

What Are the Benefits of DACA?

DACA defers removal action against an individual for two years. Additionally, applicants are eligible for a two-­year work authorization card, a social security card for work authorization only, a driver’s license depending on state law and may subsequently qualify for in-state tuition at most universities.

Can I Travel With DACA?

Generally, DACA recipients may travel anywhere within the United States. Only those DACA recipients who have been approved for Advanced Parole may travel internationally. The advanced parole application is separate and distinct from the DACA application and may only be granted after applicants have been approved for DACA and meet certain requirements.  Specifically, applicants for advanced parole must prove in detail that they are traveling for humanitarian, educational or work purposes. If approved, applicants will be given a specific timeline they are permitted to leave and reenter the United States. Traveling without advance parole will bar DACA recipients from reentering the United States and will immediately terminate their DACA status.

Do I Need a Lawyer?

In most cases, DACA can be filed easily without an attorney’s assistance. In DACA cases, you hire immigration attorneys for their experience or for their management of the process on your behalf.  You need a lawyer in determining eligibility for DACA if you have criminal history (even if it seems minor) prior to initial application or renewal. One of the most important reasons to consult with attorneys on issues such as DACA is to be sure that you are not eligible for some other permanent form of relief.

Working with Poarch Law on DACA Cases

Poarch Law attorneys have extensive experience with DACA petitions and eligibility requirements as well as with DACA-related criminal complications and renewals. We also work with clients on a number of issues, including proof of presence, raised in Requests for Evidence on self-filed DACA petitions.




Next Step: Requests for Evidence