What is DACA?
DACA is short for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. Certain people who were brought to the United States as children and meet several guidelines may request consideration of deferred action. This is not a path to citizenship. However, DACA does offer:
- Limited protection from deportation
- Eligibility for a work permit
- Permission to travel abroad in certain circumstances
DACA was originally instituted in June 2012 and allowed people to apply for protection for two years, subject to renewal. Here are the program's requirements:
- Must have entered the United States before 16th birthday
- Must have been living continually in the United States since June 15, 2007
- Must have been present in the United States on June 15, 2012 and not departed the U.S. since that date
- Must be at least 15 years old at the time of application and less than 31 years old on June 15, 2012
- Must be in school or graduated high school or have obtained a GED or be honorably discharged from the armed forces
- Must not be convicted of a felony or significant misdemeanor or have more than three regular misdemeanors
What is Expanded DACA?
In November 2014, President Obama announced an extension of DACA protection to certain young people who had been excluded from the original DACA program. Unfortunately, individuals who would have benefitted from these expanded DACA eligibility rules cannot apply due to a federal court order or “injunction” blocking the program and an opinion by the U.S. Supreme Court on June 23, 2016. However, these decisions have no effect on the original DACA program, which remains available to individuals who meet the eligibility criteria established in 2012.
What documents do I need to apply for DACA?
- Proof of identity and nationality
- Documents demonstrating that you entered the United States before age 16
- Proof that you have lived in this country from June 15, 2007 to present
- If you have been convicted of a crime, you may need to show (Live Scan) fingerprint results or court dispositions
How much does the process cost?
- The USCIS application fee is $465
- Initial screening by CARECEN costs $50
- CARECEN currently has funding allowing us to provide DACA legal services free of charge to most eligible applicants
- CARECEN fills out all forms, prepares your application, and mails it to USCIS for you