Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, was introduced by the Obama administration in 2012 to protect qualifying undocumented immigrants who arrived in the United States as children. DACA allows qualifying to continue living and working in the U.S. on a limited basis while protecting them from deportation efforts.
The program has been subject to frequent interruptions triggered by executive actions and legal challenges.
It still faces an uncertain future, but as of 2021, DACA initial applications and renewals remain available. Constant changes to the program can make obtaining benefits especially challenging. Our Orlando DACA attorneys can assist you in applying for protections for the first time or renew your current or lapsed status.
We have an extensive knowledge of how DACA operates and can determine whether you qualify.
How DACA Works
DACA status protects beneficiaries from removal proceedings and deportation. Program beneficiaries are entitled to continue living in the United States and have the ability to apply for a work permit, driver’s license, and social security number. However, DACA does not confer any permanent legal status, and there is presently no pathway for beneficiaries to pursue lawful permanent residency or citizenship.
In order to qualify for DACA, you must meet the following requirements:
- You entered the United States without legal status or authorization prior to turning 16
- You have continuously lived in the U.S. since June 15, 2007
- You were physically present in the U.S. on June 15, 2012
- You had no legal immigration status as of June 15, 2012
- You were born on June 16, 1981, or later
- You graduated high school, completed a GED, were honorably discharged from the armed forces, or are presently enrolled in school
- You have not been convicted of a felony or serious misdemeanor
- You have not been convicted of any combination of three or more misdemeanors
- You represent no other threat to national security or public safety
- You are physically present in the U.S. at the time of applying for DACA status
- You are under the age of 31 at the time of applying for DACA status
First-Time DACA Applications
First-time applications for DACA are once again available after an extended shutdown instituted by the Trump administration. Applicants will need to fill out Form I-182D, the Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, as well as Form I-765, the Application for Employment Authorization Document.
Your DACA application will need to include evidence that proves that you meet each of the eligibility requirements. This will generally include travel records, school records, utility payments, rent payments, and other documents that demonstrate that you were physically and continuously present in the United States.
Our Orlando DACA attorneys can work with you to ensure that you qualify under the program’s requirements and that your application includes all of the necessary documentation and evidence.
After submitting your application documents, you should receive a notice of receipt from United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) within 1-4 weeks. Should the agency have additional questions or be unsatisfied with the documentation supplied, you may receive additional Requests for Evidence. Failure to respond to these requests will result in an automatic application rejection.
If all goes well, you should receive instructions to attend a biometrics appointment within approximately 4 months of submitting your application. After that, you may need to wait an additional several months before you receive a final decision from USCIS.
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