DHS/USCIS is no longer accepting initial DACA applications. Only renewals can be filed at this time. See Renewal Process for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) if you are eligible.
What is deferred action?
Deferred action is not an immigration status or amnesty. It simply means that DHS has decided to allow you to remain in the United States because deporting you from the United States is not a high priority. Deferred action does not lead to a “green card” or to U.S. citizenship
Can I get a work permit if I am granted deferred action?
Deferred action does make you eligible for an Employment Authorization document (EAD, or “work permit”).
Am I eligible for DACA?
To qualify for deferred action you must meet all of these requirements:
How old do I have to be to apply for deferred action?
You must be at least 15 years of age or older at the time of filing your application. If you are not yet 15 years old but otherwise meet the requirements for DACA, you can file your application once you turn 15.
However, you can apply for DACA even if you are not yet 15 years old, if you are in removal proceedings, have a final removal order, or have a voluntary departure order, and are not currently being detained by immigration.
How long will deferred action last? Can DHS terminate deferred action status?
If granted, deferred action and employment authorization will last for two years. You may be able to renew it every two years. However, deferred action can be terminated at any time if DHS decides to do so.
If I am eligible for deferred action, can I also apply for my parents and siblings?
No. You cannot apply for family members.
How can I apply for deferred action with USCIS?
To apply for DACA, you will need to complete Forms I-821D, I-765 and I-765WS and submit them to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). The employment authorization code for DACA applications (question 16 on Form I-765) is (c)(33).
You will need to pay a filing fee of $465.
You will also need to submit evidence proving that you:
For examples of documents that can be used to prove each of the above points, click here. Although not required, you can also include any documents showing additional positive or special factors in your case (for example: involvement with volunteer work or community service; participation in extracurricular activities; academic or other achievements; physical or mental health concerns; etc).
To see where you should file your application, find your state of residence on this chart. If you live in New Jersey, you should send your application to:
U.S. Postal Service
USPS Express Mail/Courier
USCIS Chicago Lockbox Facility
USCIS Chicago Lockbox Facility
When you submit your application, you should include a cover letter that states your name, your address, and a list of the forms and documents that you are attaching, in the order they are placed in your application packet.
Is there a fee waiver available?
Fee waivers will not be accepted. In a very limited number of cases, DHS will consider fee exemption requests from an individual before she files the DACA application. Fee exemptions may be granted if you:
What does “currently in school” mean?
If you do not have your high school diploma or GED, and have not been honorably discharged from the military, you must show that you are “currently in school.” That means you must be enrolled in:
Education, literacy, or career training programs can include, but are not limited to, programs funded in whole or in part by federal or state grants. Programs funded by other sources may also be acceptable for DACA purposes, if they have a record of demonstrated effectiveness, such as institutions of higher education, including community colleges, and certain community-based organizations.
What if I have taken trips outside of the United States? Will that affect my continuous residence?
An absence from the United States will not interrupt your continuous residence if it was “brief, casual, and innocent” and took place before August 15, 2012. Time spent outside the United States will be considered brief, casual, and innocent if:
What if I have been arrested in the past?
You will have to undergo a background check after you apply for DACA. If you have ever been arrested, you should consult with an immigration attorney before filing an application with USCIS. If you have been convicted of a criminal offense that is a felony, a significant misdemeanor, or three misdemeanors, you will not be eligible for deferred action.
What offenses count as a felony?
A felony is a federal, state, or local criminal offense punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year.
What offenses count as a significant misdemeanor?
A misdemeanor is defined by federal law as an offense for which the maximum term of imprisonment authorized is one year or less but greater than five days. Any misdemeanor offense involving domestic violence, sexual abuse or exploitation, burglary, unlawful possession or use of a firearm, drug distribution or trafficking, or driving under the influence will be considered a significant misdemeanor, regardless of the actual sentence imposed. Any other misdemeanor offense which resulted in a jail sentence of more than 90 days will also be considered a significant misdemeanor.
What offenses count as a non-significant misdemeanor?
Any misdemeanor offense that did not involve domestic violence, sexual abuse or exploitation, burglary, unlawful possession or use of a firearm, drug distribution or trafficking, or driving under the influence and resulted in a jail sentence of 90 days or less (including no jail time) will be considered a non-significant misdemeanor.
What about expunged or juvenile convictions or immigration-related convictions?
Immigration-related offenses characterized as felonies or misdemeanors by state immigration laws will not count as disqualifying felonies or misdemeanors for DACA purposes.
Expunged convictions and juvenile convictions will not automatically disqualify you from deferred action.
Keep in mind that the decision to grant deferred action is handled on a case-by-case basis. USCIS has the discretion to make a decision based on all of your individual circumstances, including whether or not you have a criminal history as described above. Therefore, your criminal record, or lack of one, may not necessarily determine the outcome of your application.
What if I am currently in removal proceedings or detained?
If you are currently in removal proceedings, or have a final order of removal or a grant of voluntary departure, you can still apply for deferred action with USCIS. If you are currently being detained by immigration, though, you may not request deferred action from USCIS. Instead, you should notify your detention officer or contact the ICE Office of the Public Advocate by telephone phone at 1-888-351-4024 (staffed 9 a.m.–5 p.m., Monday–Friday) or by email at [email protected].
What if my application for DACA is denied?
If your application is denied, you cannot appeal the decision.
To read more about the deferred action application process, visit USCIS’s page on Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.
Also, see Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals—Tips for Filing
This information last reviewed: Oct 29, 2018