On June 15, 2012, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced that it would not deport certain undocumented youth who came to the United States as children. Under a directive from the DHS secretary, these youth may be granted a type of temporary permission to stay in the U.S. called “deferred action.” The Obama administration called this program Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA. Donald Trump attempted to end DACA by limiting renewals to one year instead of two and not accept new applicants. In June 2020, the Supreme Court blocked these attempts, citing the reasons given by Trump to be “arbitrary and capricious.” On January 20, 2021, President Joe Biden issued an executive order reinstating DACA. In July of 2021, a federal judge in Texas blocked new applicants wanting to apply for DACA. Currently, Homeland Security cannot review any pending applications that have been received.
Applying for DACA
You may request consideration of DACA if you:
- Were under the age of 31 as of June 15, 2012;
- Came to the United States before reaching your 16th birthday;
- Have continuously resided in the United States since June 15, 2007, up to the present time;
- Were physically present in the United States on June 15, 2012, and at the time of making your request for consideration of deferred action with USCIS;
- Had no lawful status on June 15, 2012, meaning that:
- You never had a lawful immigration status on or before June 15, 2012*, or
- Any lawful immigration status or parole that you obtained prior to June 15, 2012, had expired as of June 15, 2012;
- Are currently in school, have graduated or obtained a certificate of completion from high school, have obtained a General Educational Development (GED) certificate, or are an honorably discharged veteran of the Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the United States; and
- Have not been convicted of a felony, a significant misdemeanor, three or more other misdemeanors, and do not otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety.
* Please review DACA FAQ 18 if you are currently in lawful immigration status.
- (2) passport-style photographs (for the Employment Authorization application) with your name and date of birth written on the back
- Copy of foreign passport biographic page and any prior visa & I-94 cards (if available)
- Copy of original birth certificate and translation OR unexpired passport
- Copy of every criminal and/or traffic court case on record (if applicable)
- Every incident/arrest/police report
- Every criminal complaint/charging document from the district attorney (or other prosecutor)
- Every final criminal court disposition record. That is the final ruling from the judge in your case stating the outcome after settlement, trial, or dismissal
- Post-conviction showing that you completed all terms of probation/sentence.
- Copy of school records, such as:
- Proof of Enrollment
- Report Cards and/or Transcripts
- School Identification Card(s)
- Awards from high school (and college, if applicable)
- Copy of high school diploma or GED certificate (if applicable)
- Proof of entry prior to age 16, continuous residence in U.S. since June 15, 2007 and presence on June 15, 2012, such as:
- Federal Income Tax Returns or Tax Transcripts (filed independently or as a dependent)
- Employment records, letters from internships & volunteer work, medical records
- Leases, rental receipts, other dated receipts, utility bills, cell phone bills
- Bank statements, credit card statements, copies of cancelled checks
- Birth certificates of children and/or siblings born in the U.S. for the stated period
- Affidavits from relatives, friends, teachers, and churches attesting to your presence
- Photographs placing you in the U.S. since the age of 16 & since 2007
For more information visit the Immigrants Rising Steps to Apply for DACA for the First Time page.
Please note that currently, Homeland Security is not permitted to review any pending DACA applications. If you already applied but have not yet heard back about a decision, your application is on hold and you will not receive your application fee until further notice. If you believe you are eligible and are considering applying for DACA, it is recommended that you have a legal consultation to make the right decision for you at this time.
Application for DACA requires the completion of Form 821-D, Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals as well as forms I-765 and I-765 WS
To learn how to apply for DACA, visit the Immigrants Rising Steps to Apply for DACA for the First Time page.
Individuals can call U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) at 800-375-5283 with questions or to request more information on DACA.
Once your application is renewed it can take up to 7-10 months to be processed.
- Receipt of Application: 2-3 weeks after filing
- Appointment Notice for Biometrics (Fingerprinting): 3-5 weeks after filing
- Biometrics Appointment (5-8 weeks after filing)
- Form I-821D Adjudication: 4-8 months after filing
- Receive your Employment Authorization Card-7-10 months after filing
To learn more, visit the Citizen Path website.
You may request a renewal if you met the initial 2012 DACA guidelines and you:
- Did not depart the United States on or after Aug. 15, 2012, without advance parole;
- Have continuously resided in the United States since you submitted your most recent DACA request that was approved; and
- Have not been convicted of a felony, a significant misdemeanor, or three or more misdemeanors, and do not otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety.
Please note, if you file after your most recent DACA period expired, but within one year of its expiration, you may submit a request to renew your DACA. If you are filing beyond one year after your most recent period of DACA expired, you may still request DACA by submitting a new initial request.
Renewing DACA status requires the same applications needed for first time applicants: Completion of Form 821-D, Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals as well as forms I-765 and I-765 WS.
Do not submit any additional documents at the time you request renewal unless: You have new documents involving removal proceedings or criminal history that you did not already submit to USCIS in a previously approved DACA request.
For more information on renewing your DACA please visit the USCIS DACA Renewal Tips page.
The total application fee for DACA is $495. Due to USCIS’ uncertain withdrawal time, money orders and cashier’s checks are recommended, but personal checks are accepted. Checks must be made payable to “U.S. Department of Homeland Security.” Do not abbreviate. Cash is not accepted.
Fee exemptions are available, but only to people who meet the stringent requirements.
If you are a current student at Guttman, you may be eligible to receive emergency funding towards your DACA application fee. Please visit Guttman’s Emergency Funding page for more information and email firstname.lastname@example.org with questions.
Reach out to your local immigrant rights organizations and legal service providers to find out if they have any DACA fee assistance available.
Other organizations have established loan programs to cover the cost of applying for DACA:
- Mission Asset Fund provides a 0% interest, credit-building immigration loan in California to help pay for the DACA fee
- Self-Help Credit Union has a DACA loan program to help individuals pay for the DACA fee and other application costs