What documents do I need to apply for Deferred Action?

In order to successfully apply for either DACA or DAPA you must prove each of the qualifying elements for the program.  It isn’t what you say, but what you can show that matters.  Please keep the following guidelines in mind as you assemble your documents:

  1. Photocopies are acceptable unless USCIS specifically asks you for originals.  For example, court disposition for traffic or criminal offenses you must provide certified copies.  Those can’t be copies.
  2. Every document must be in English or translated with the following certification: I [typed name], certify that I am fluent in the English and ________ languages, and that the above/attached document is an accurate translation of the document attached entitled ______________________________.  The certificate must be signed and dated by the translator including his or her address.  The applicant shouldn’t be the translator of the document.
  3. Do not submit any documents showing fake social security numbers.  That means, no pay stubs, tax returns, or W-2 statements showing the fake numbers.  You are risking a fraud determination.  It is a lower risk to submit income tax returns showing only your ITIN (individual Income Tax Identification Number).
  4. Do not submit income tax returns with wrong information.  Income tax returns are an excellent method to documents your presence in the U.S. for the last five years, but not if they have possible fraudulent information.  For example, if you and your partner are not married the income tax return can’t include your partner.  Similarly, you should not include dependents who aren’t actually your dependents.  You don’t want USCIS to compare your income tax returns and your Deferred Action petition and find conflicting information.  Get the income tax returns amended by an accountant before applying or don’t include them as evidence.
  5. Photographs must have date photo was taken and who is in the photo.  You can use Facebook Photo printouts, but be careful the government may not consider these reliable.  The posts should indicate your presence in the U.S.
  6. The government has been clear that it wants official records to prove that meet the education requirements.  “Currently in school” refers to the time you are filing your application.  It isn’t too late to enroll in school in order to meet this requirement.
  7. If you left the U.S. after January 1, 2010, you must show that your absence was “brief, casual, and innocent.”  This means that you planned to return to the U.S. to continue living here.
  8. An Affidavit is a written statement.  This is generally not enough to prove your continuous residence in the U.S.  However, if the affidavit is written by someone in a photo with you and describing those events that is generally acceptable.  We recommend affidavits to show (1) short gap in your continuous residence without documentary proof; (2) provide details about an absence in the U.S.; or (3) to highlight your good moral character.  Keep in mind it isn’t the number of affidavits you provide but their value relative to your application.

The chart below provides examples of the type of documents you can use to prove each element of either DACA or DAPA.  You don’t need to include every type of document and this isn’t an exhaustive list.  See Appendix A for the full Document List we provide all of our clients.

Proof of Identity
  1. Birth certificate
  2. Passport (expired or un-expired) preferably with stamped date of U.S. admission
  3. Consular ID
  4. Valid government issued photo identification document
  5. National ID document with photo and or fingerprint
Arrival before 16th birth day
  1. Form I-94 Arrival/Departure document
  2. Visa identifying you and your date of birth
  3. Travel tickets that identify you (e.g., airplane, boat, bus, train, etc.) and date of US arrival
  4. School records
  5. Vaccination records
  6. Medical records
  7. Pay stubs
  8. Rental/lease Receipts
  9. Statement of persons present at the time of entrance (only those with legal status)
Unlawful status on November 20, 2014 This isn’t required if you entered illegally and were never in deportation proceedings

  1. Form I-94 Arrival/Departure document
  2. Final Order of Exclusion, deportation or removal and charging documents
  3. INS/DHS charging document
Physical Presence/Continuous Residence from January 1, 2010 until date of application
  1. Marriage Certificate if married in US
  2. Divorce Decree if divorced in US
  3. Birth certificates for children born in the US
  4. Driver’s license/Government ID
  5. Tax returns, W -2s, pay stubs
  6. Insurance (car/health/house)
  7. School records (awards, certifications, diplomas, report cards, yearbooks, etc)
  8. Medical records
  9. Church record (baptism, confirmation, and registration certificates)
  10. Any correspondence with INS/DHS
  11. Community service records (youth groups, Boy/Girl Scouts, other service organizations i.e., Boys & Girls Club)
  12. Sports records (i.e., Soccer or Little League)
  13. Bank and/or credit card statements (from January 1, 2010)
  14. House title or rent/lease contracts
  15. Proof of application for home loan or proof of paying-off home loan
  16. Utility bills (gas, water, electricity, phone, etc.)
  17. Memberships (gym, Sam’s Club, etc.)
  18. Proof of car purchase or car payments
  19. Automobile registration, car title, license receipts and Department of Motor Vehicle records
  20. Photographs of celebrations in the United States, preferably with dates
  21. Proof of remittances of money from you here in the U.S. to your family
  22. Worker’s Comp claim records
  23. Proof of any awards, certificates, or commendations received from work
  24. Medical records from injuries at work
  25. Proof of any classes or vocational training received for work
  26. Letters of written notices from employers
Education Requirements
  1. Diploma/Certificate from a U S high school
  2. GED certification
  3. School transcript
  4. Letter from school registrar confirmed current attendance
  5. School records, awards, certifications, pictures, report cards, yearbooks, etc
Honorable discharge from Coast Guard or Military
  1. Military ID
  2. DD Form-214, Report of Separation (from the U.S. Armed Forces)
  3. National Guard Bureau NGB Form 22
  4. Efficiency reports (officer evaluation reports, noncommissioned officer evaluation reports)
  5. Military pay records
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