DACA Requirements

Do you know that you can become a legal permanent resident through a DACA application? The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals or DACA immigration policy is currently under hot waters as the Supreme Court oversees the government’s move of changing the legislation. What this means is that if you plan on filing for DACA, you can avoid putting yourself at risk of facing a denial or removal proceeding by letting Andres Mejer Law evaluate your case. Below we look at the different requirements to get DACA and the common mistakes you need to avoid.

Filing DACA with an Attorney

To apply for your initial DACA or to renew your status, you will have to fill out form I-821D. Instead of showing you have not been disqualified for the last 2 years, you will need seven requirements. 

When you apply for DACA for the first time, you must meet the following eligibility requirements:

  1. You had to have entered the US before you were 16 years old, as proven by travel records, school records, or medical certificates among others.
  2. You must be under 31 years old or younger on June 15, 2012 (born on or after Jun 22, 1981), as proven in your birth certificate (in English)
  3. You must have lived in the US continuously from June 15, 2007 until now. You can show proof of staying in the U.S. using your tax returns, photos, school records, medical records, letters from friends and family (with legal status in the US)
  4. You must have been physically inside the US on June 15, 2012 AND you didn’t have legal status then. TO prove your legal immigration status, you must provide copies of your passport, and indicate how you entered the US.  If you had a visa, it would be reflected in your passport. 
  5. You must be in school, have graduated from HS, have your GED, or about to get your GED. If still in school, you can provide your school transcript and the target date of graduation in your diploma. If you never went to school in the US or you didn’t graduate from high school, you can register for either a class to learn English as a prerequisite to completing GED or enrolling directly in a GED program.
  6. You can’t have committed any serious crimes or 3 or more misdemeanors. In the past, there have been approximately 800,000 DACA holders approved.  However, there are only approximately 650,000 today because some let their permission expire or committed crimes such as DUI, assault, drug possession, or domestic violence resulting in the loss of DACA status. If you were arrested for any reason, you need to discuss your situation with a qualified immigration attorney before filing for DACA. If you were convicted of a serious crime or have one pending, you should not apply until the case is resolved. Those convicted of crimes may only apply by filing a post-conviction relief motion to attempt to change the outcome

Filing Advance Parole for DACA Applicants

Getting advance parole helps you not to be disqualified for getting a green card through DACA. Advance Parole gives you permission to leave the US and re-enter.  Since DACA doesn’t give you legal status without advance parole, if you leave the US you forfeit not only DACA but also the possibility to return to the US for at least 10 years.

Everyone with DACA can apply for advance parole except for those who have been deported, convicted for a serious misdemeanor (felony), or 3 or more misdemeanors. If you can prove that you entered the U.S. legally, you won’t need Advance Parole because you are already eligible to undergo adjustment of status if you have an immediate relative with citizenship or legal permanent residency.

Getting advance parole is as simple as filing form I-131. But unlike the Military Deferred Action or Temporary Protected Status, you need a really good reason to travel outside of the US.  Below are acceptable reasons for travel:

  • Humanitarian reasons – Examples are visiting a sick family relative or attending a special occasion like a wedding. This must be documented with a medical record or wedding invitation.
  • Education – Examples are desire to study abroad or take summer classes in another country, as proven by records of acceptance.
  • Work – This includes attending a conference or required seminar for work. You will need details of the seminar, reservation at a hotel, flight details, proof of attendance fee, and relevance of the seminar in your career

Applying for DACA and advance parole can get complicated given the immigration changes under the current administration. This is why it would benefit you to get legal advice from lawyers who were once immigrants like you. Andres Mejer Law is focused on getting your legal status. Our immigration attorneys offer Immigration fees would depend on the processes you need to undergo and our law firm would be happy to provide you an estimate during your case consultation. 

If you want to achieve legal status but disqualified for DACA, you can explore other paths such as green card or citizenship, or DACA. Although DACA is often the last option taken since it only gives protection from deportation and work authorization, it is a viable path towards the attainment of a U.S. citizenship or green card. Call Andres Mejer Law today to learn how you can get yours.