What Is DACA?
DACA is the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. It was created in 2012 to eliminate the need for the Department of Homeland Security to use its resources to pursue immigrants who arrived in the country illegally as children, and to provide work authorizations for DACA recipients.
Those who meet the eligibility requirements may apply for a two-year DACA approval. DACA can be renewed in two-year increments so long as applicants continue to meet eligibility requirements.
Who Is Eligible to Become a DACA Recipient?
You may request DACA status if you:
- Were 30 years old or younger on June 15, 2012;
- Arrived in the U.S. before your 16th birthday;
- Have lived without interruption in the U.S. since June 15, 2007;
- Were in the U.S. on June 15, 2012, and on the day you requested DACA consideration;
- Had no lawful status in the U.S. on June 15, 2012, which means you had no lawful status on or before that date, or if you did, your status expired prior to June 15, 2012;
- Are in school now, graduated from or earned a high school certificate of completion or GED, or are an honorably discharged veteran of any branch of the U.S. Armed Forces or Coast Guard;
- Have no felony criminal convictions, serious misdemeanor convictions, or three or more other misdemeanor convictions, and are not a threat to public safety or national security.
What Is the DACA Application Process?
You must complete the appropriate forms and submit them as required. Once it is determined that you meet eligibility requirements and have submitted all forms and documentation, you will receive a notification of receipt of your application. You will also receive a scheduled date for biometric services which includes taking your fingerprints and photos to be checked against a criminal database.
Each application is reviewed, and more information may be requested by the reviewer. If your request is denied, based on eligibility or failure to provide all requested documentation or pay all fees, you cannot appeal the decision. You will be referred to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) for removal from the country.
If your application is approved, you will be notified of the decision and will receive a two-year work authorization card within 90 days.
How Can DACA Recipients Be Renewed?
You should request renewal of your DACA status 150 to 120 days prior to expiration. You must complete all renewal paperwork, provide all requested documentation, and appear for your biometrics appointment as scheduled.
You must not have left the U.S. without permission, referred to as “parole,” on or after August 15, 2012. You must have lived without interruption in the U.S. since your last DACA approval and meet all the requirements regarding criminal convictions and national security.
Although U.S. Customs and Immigration Services attempts to process renewal applications within 120 days, there is a chance your current work authorization will expire before a new one is issued. That is why it is important that you file your renewal application in a timely manner.