Requests for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)
Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) is a program that provides temporary relief from deportation (“deferred action”) and work authorization to certain young people who were brought to the United States before they turned 16.
DACA grants qualified young immigrants the opportunity to live in the U.S. and work legally with Employment Authorization (EAD), without the fear of being "deported" for a two- year (renewable) period of time.
DACA has improved many young lives by allowing many eligible young people to come out of the shadows and work legally in the U.S. With work authorization, DACA recipients may apply for a social security number and also for a driver’s license. However, DACA does not offer legal status, a pathway to legalization, or citizenship.
DACA is NOT permanent. It does NOT grant a “green card”, NOR amnesty, NOR any permanent solution to being in the U.S. “illegally”. It does NOT provide a pathway U.S. citizenship. It does allow you to live a better life, free from the fear of deportation as long as you remain DACA eligible and as long as you continue to renew your DACA status.
REQUIREMENTS for DACA
You may request Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, IF YOU:
(1) Were under the age of 31 as of June 15, 2012;
(2) Came to the U.S. before reaching your 16th birthday;
(3) Have continuously resided in the U.S. since June 15, 2007 up to the present;
(4) Were physically present in the United States on June 15, 2012, AND at the time of making your Request for Consideration of Deferred Action with USCIS;
(5) Entered without inspection ("illegally" ) before June 15, 2012, OR your lawful immigration status expired as of June 15, 2012;
(6) Are currently in school, have graduated or obtained a certificate of completion from high school, have obtained a general education development (GED) certificate, OR are an honorably discharged veteran of the Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the U.S.; AND
(7) Have not been convicted of a felony, significant misdemeanor, 3 or more other misdemeanors, and do not otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety. If you have any criminal history you should have your record requested and reviewed by an immigration attorney before you consider filing for DACA.
Other Important Information About "DACA":
* There is a $465 filing fee to USCIS that includes Employment Authorization.
* DACA and Employment Authorization are originally granted for 2 years, and will be RENEWABLE !
* There is NO expedited processing.
* Even detainees, persons with final removal orders, and persons in removal proceedings may apply for DACA, if they are eligible.
* Only applicants who were NOT in status on June 15, 2012 (and are still not in status) may apply. This includes those who entered "illegally" AND those who overstayed a visa.
* A DUI will usually disqualify a person from applying for DACA.
* Applicants will have background checks and biometrics will be taken.
* "Significant misdemeanors" disqualify an applicant. (For example: DUI, sexual abuse, drug trafficking or distribution, burglary, unlawful possession of a firearm).
* Minor traffic offenses are NOT "significant misdemeanors" and do not disqualify an applicant. This means that a conviction for driving without a license does necessarily NOT disqualify an applicant.
* 3 or more misdemeanors may disqualify an applicant.
* An interview for DACA will not be required, except in certain cases.
* USCIS has stressed the importance of consulting with an immigration attorney, and avoiding being scammed by "notarios" or "immigration consultants".
ABOUT DACA RENEWAL
You may already qualify to RENEW your DACA status, or perhaps file for DACA for the very first time. (See below for RENEWAL information.)
Please contact our office - (404) 418-8989 - to make an appointment to discuss whether you or your family member qualify for DACA (or DAP) and to learn about the documents needed for that case.
If you have been granted an initial period of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), USCIS recommends that you file your application for DACA Renewal at least 120 days before the expiration date and as early as 150 days prior to your DACA expiration date.
A DACA RENEWAL may be filed as early as 150 days before the expiration date. You may request a renewal if you met the initial DACA guidelines AND you:
* Did not depart the United States on or after Aug. 15, 2012 without advance parole;
* Have continuously resided in the United States since you submitted your most recent DACA request that was approved; AND
* Have not been convicted of a felony, a significant misdemeanor, or three or more misdemeanors, and do not otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety.
It is recommended that you verify your expiration date. You do not want your DACA period to expire before your renewal is approved.
If your current DACA approval expires before you receive a renewal, you will not be authorized to work, you will not be able to renew your driver’s license, and you will accrue unlawful presence for any time between the approved periods of deferred action, unless you were under 18 years of age at the time you submitted your renewal request.
You may have many questions about this process. Please phone the office if you wish to set up a consultation with the attorney.
Updated: October, 2015
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Law Offices of Hilary Smith, LLC
1827 Powers Ferry Road, SE, Suite 1-200
Atlanta, GA 30339