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What is Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Immigration?

Updated on July 19, 2013

This is a two year program that President Obama began in June, 2012. It is called the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals or DACA and targets those children in the USA of illegal\undocumented parents. It enables these children to obtain basic legal credentials and is a step closer to becoming a U.S. citizen. DACA does not give you U.S. citizenship, that is a different series of forms and steps. DACA does not give you a Green Card or permanent status.

Since 2012, over 250,000 have applied for this and the average wait time for approval is around six months. When approved, you person will be able to get a work permit, SSN, drivers license and ID. Currently, children of parents who have no documentation cannot work or drive legally, much like their parents.

To apply, you must be 15 years old, born after June 15, 1981 and under age 31 yrs. on June 15, 2012 (when DACA became effective). You must be physically present in the USA on June 15, 2012 and can prove it with documentation. If you entered illegally before that date, that is fine, many have. Did you also enter the USA before age 16 and if so, did you ever leave the USA before that age?

A critical element that must be documented is continuous residence in the USA from June 15, 2007 to present. There must be no gaps between dates. The applicant cannot have any DUI, felonies or misdemeanors showing fraud or violence. Traffic violations may be okay depending on the frequency of them. If you left the USA for more than 1-2 months, that may also become a problem in approval, the longer away, the less likely you will be approved.

If a family member are already legal residents (Green Card), this actually may help you be approved. Also, if any family members are or have become U.S. citizens, that is a very good thing.

When applying, the following documents are needed to prove:

  • Your identity (passport, birth certificate, school ID)
  • Entry in the US before age 16 (passport with admission stamp, I-94, School records from US schools attended, hospital or medical records)
  • Present in the US on June 15, 2012 (employment records, pay stubs,school records, bank records, deeds, mortgages, tax records)
  • For continuous residence in the USA since June 15, 2007 (employment records, pay stubs,school records, bank records, deeds, mortgages, tax records, rent receipts)
  • Also provide- school transcripts, report cards from the school currently attending, if a student, if now, a diploma or GED from a US school. If you were in the military, a DD-214 paper.
  • You must also indicate the date you entered the USA, where entered on the border and your age at the time of entry.
  • You need to make a list of ALL the places you have lived from the date you entered the USA. You do not know, at least provide the city\state\year. This is usually a problem for those who have moved around.

All documents you provide must be in English to the US immigration. Anyone can translate them, a notarized document is not needed. The Forms you need to apply with and filled out are 821D for DACA and 765 for work permit. The total cost is $465 (which includes being fingerprinted).

When all forms are completed and supporting documents are attached, submit them by mail with payment to:

Department of Homeland Security, DACA, PO Box 20700, Phoenix, AZ. 85036-0700.

Depending on your fluency, one can either do this by themselves and obtaining the forms from websites or allow counselors to help and paying anywhere between $100-200 for their help. This is in addition to the $465 fee. The forms are not hard to fill out but the supporting documents must be accurate and official in some way (i.e., not a letter from someone saying you were in the USA on June 15, 2012). Sending copies of documents is fine.

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