DACA Immigration Attorneys in San Diego
The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program is a new immigration policy that was signed into law by President Barack Obama on June 15, 2012. The program allows undocumented children who arrived illegally in the United States at a young age to remain in America.
A deferred action grant is considered temporary and those with DACA status are not on the path to permanent residency or U.S. citizenship. However, DACA status does allow holders to be lawfully in the United States and work legally. Those who are in removal proceedings or who have a voluntary departure order may still apply for DACA status. DACA application review typically takes four to six months.
In the first two years of the program, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) granted DACA status to over a half-million people.
DACA Eligibility Requirements
In order to qualify for DACA status, a person must:
- Have arrived in the United States before they turned 16 years old.
- Were under the age of 31 on June 15, 2012.
- Have lived in the United States continuously since January 1, 2010.
- Have been physically present in the United States on June 15, 2012 (the day the bill was signed) until when you apply for DACA status.
- Not had legal status on June 15, 2012 or at the time of applying for DACA status.
- Either be currently enrolled in school, have a high school diploma, have a GED, or have an honorable discharge from the military.
- Not be previously convicted of a felony, a significant misdemeanor, or three or more misdemeanors.
- Not otherwise pose a threat to public safety or national security.
How to Apply for DACA Status
If you meet the above requirements, you may apply for DACA status (though meeting all of the requirements does not guarantee you will be approved). To apply, you must:
- Submit Form I-821D, Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, to the USCIS.
- Submit Forms I -765 and I-765WS in order to attain a work permit. You must also prove an economic need for employment.
- Include two passport style photographs.
- Include copies of foreign passports and former visas.
- Include birth certificate (and translation).
- Include criminal record, including traffic violations.
- Include copies of school records, diplomas, and GED certificate if applicable.
- Include a copy of military records if applicable.
- Include proof that you entered the United States before age 16.
- Pay a filing fee of $465.
Not correctly filling out these forms or not including all forms in your application could delay or adversely affect your DACA status.
The Benefits of DACA Status
Obtaining DACA status means that you can now:
- Legally reside in the United States.
- Legally work and receive employment benefits.
- Attain higher education.
- Open bank accounts and apply for credit cards.
- Get health insurance benefits.
- Get a drivers’ license (in most states).
- Participate in your community (volunteer, become politically active).
You are not required to have legal representation when filing for DACA status. However, if you need assistance with your petition, or if you have a complicated case, our team of immigration attorneys is here to help. For example, if you have a criminal record, if you are facing deportation, or if you are having difficulty proving your eligibility, we can offer assistance and guidance.
Do you have a question about the DACA program, your DACA case, or our legal services? Call our offices today to get the information and assistance you need. We have bilingual immigration attorneys and staff members!