The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program has seen considerable stress in recent years, as the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas imposed an injunction on July 16, 2021, that was affirmed by the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. The injunction permanently enjoined the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) from granting DACA status to any new applicants, although it did not cancel or terminate DACA status for people in good standing.

While DACA has only become more complicated for people new to the program, it still offers considerable benefits for people who are eligible to apply for immigration relief because they can obtain two-year lawful status to reside in the United States. They can also apply for driver’s licenses and seek approval to leave and re-enter the country.

DACA Requirements

DACA requests can only be granted when United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) determines in its sole discretion that a person meets each of the following threshold criteria and merits a favorable exercise of discretion:

  • They were under 31 years of age on June 15, 2012 (meaning born on or after June 16, 1981);
  • Came to the United States before reaching 16 years of age;
  • Have lived in the United States continuously since June 15, 2007, and up to the time of filing a request for DACA;
  • Physically present within the United States at the time of filing a request for DACA with USCIS and on June 15, 2012;
  • Did not have a lawful immigration status on June 15, 2012, or at the time of filing a request for DACA, meaning that they never had any lawful immigration status before June 15, 2012, or the lawful immigration status or parole they obtained expired on June 15, 2012, and any lawful status after June 15, 2012, expired or terminated before they submitted their DACA request;
  • Are either currently enrolled in school, graduated high school or obtained a certificate of completion, obtained a General Education Development (GED) certificate, or were an honorably discharged veteran of the United States Armed Forces or United States Coast Guard; and
  • Have not been convicted of either a felony, a significant misdemeanor, or three or more other misdemeanors, and do not otherwise pose any kind of threat to national security or public safety.

DACA Filing Process

People who meet the guidelines for DACA need to complete the following steps to make a request to USCIS. You begin by collecting all the documents you will need to submit to demonstrate you qualify.

You will need to secure proof of identity, which can include a passport or national identity document from a person’s country of origin, a birth certificate with photo identification, a school or military ID with photo, or any United States government immigration or other document bearing a person’s name and photo. You then need to secure proof you came to the United States before you turned 16 years of age, which can be a passport with admission stamp, school records from the American schools you have attended, a Form I-94/I-95/I-94W, travel records, any Immigration and Naturalization Service or DHS document that states date of entry, employment records, hospital or medical records, money order receipts for money that was sent in or out of the country, official records from religious entities confirming participation in religious ceremonies, dated bank transactions, birth certificates of children born in the United States, or automobile license receipts or registration.

You must prove your immigration status through a Form I-94, I-95, or I-94W that has an authorized stay expiration date, a final order of exclusion, deportation, or removal that was issued as of June 15, 2012, or a charging document placing you into removal proceedings. You also need proof of your presence in the United States on June 15, 2012, and proof you continuously resided in the United States since June 15, 2007, which can be rent receipts or utility bills, employment records, school records, military records, official records from religious entities confirming participation in religious ceremonies, passport entries, money order receipts for money sent into or out of the country, birth certificates for children born in the United States, automobile license receipts or registration, dated bank transactions, tax receipts, deeds, mortgages, rental agreement contracts, insurance policies, and affidavits stating the starts of the continuous presence periods when people arrived in the United States before 8 years of age.

A person will also need proof of their student status at the time they are requesting DACA which can include official records from the school that a person is currently attending in the United States, United States high school diploma or certificate of completion, or a United States GED certificate. Finally, a person can need proof they were an honorably discharged veteran of the United States Armed Forces or United States Coast Guard such as a NGB Form 22, National Guard Report of Separation and Record of Service, military personnel records, a Form DD-214, Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty, or military health records.

Make sure you complete Form I-821D, Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, and the Form I-675 Worksheet. You mail your forms to the appropriate USCIS Lockbox and visit an Application Support Center (ASC) for biometric services.

Call Us Today to Speak with a Los Angeles DACA Lawyer

Are you thinking that you are going to need to be filing a DACA request but do not know how to go about it? Make sure that you retain legal counsel for assistance and work with the Law Office of Todd Becraft.

Our firm understands how frightening many aspects of this process can be for people but we will know how to walk you through the entire journey and make everything as simple as possible. You can call (213) 388-1821 or contact us online to receive a consultation with our Los Angeles DACA lawyer.