Update: Injunction to block expanded DACA and DAPA


Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (initial) and Expanded Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals programs

Deferred action is a form of administrative relief from deportation that has actually existed in some form for a long time in the U.S. The agency, DHS, essentially allows a noncitizen to stay in the United States during a temporary period. Often, the person is allowed to apply for an employment authorization document (EAD or work permit), that they can use to work while their status is deferred. This kind of relief is granted on a case-by-case basis, which means that DHS will look specifically at your application and what you submit to support it in deciding whether you qualify. Your application is different from anyone else’s and so, you should take care in making sure your reasons for seeking deferred action are clearly set out.

Initial DACA grants were valid for two years. Applicants who received DACA under the initial program are now applying to renew their status. Applicants who receive deferred action through DAPA or expanded DACA will have that status for three years and may also be renewed.

It is important to note that deferred action is temporary – it does not confer a green card. Deferred action can also be revoked if the individual does something that makes them deportable or that changes their eligibility under the program. But deferred action does legalize an individual’s status and open the pathway to being able to stay lawfully in the U.S. while holding deferred action status.

Contact us to discuss any of these programs, and also renewing your inital DACA status

DAPA Eligibility

To be eligible for deferred action under DAPA, you must

  • Be the parent of a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident.
  • Have continuously lived in the U.S. since January 1, 2010.  – Breaks in physical presence can affect your “continuous residence.” Talk to your immigration lawful to discuss any travel you have had.
  • Have been present in the U.S. on November 20, 2014.
  • You will also probably need to be present in the U.S. every day from now until you apply for DAPA.
  • Not have a lawful immigration status on November 20, 2014
    • To meet this requirement, (1) you must have entered the U.S. without papers (no visa), or, if you entered lawfully, your lawful immigration status must have expired before November 20, 2014 (called an overstay); and (2) you must not have a lawful immigration status at the time you apply for DAPA.
    • Depending on the circumstances, you may still not have lawful immigration status even if you are the beneficiary on a family petition Consult with our immigration law office to make sure you qualify.
  • Have not been convicted of certain criminal offenses, including any felonies and some misdemeanors.
    • If you have any criminal record – even just an arrest, be sure to tell your knowledgeable immigration attorney, so we can determine if this will affect your eligibility

Expanded DACA Eligibility

To be eligible for expanded DACA, you must:

  • Have come to the United States before your sixteenth birthday.
  • Have continuously lived in the U.S. since January 1, 2010.
  • Have graduated or obtained a certificate of completion from high school, have obtained a general education development (GED) certificate, or “be in school” on the date that you submit your deferred action application. Discuss your education with your knowledgeable immigration lawyer.
  • Have not been convicted of certain criminal offenses.
    • If you have any criminal record – even just an arrest, be sure to tell your knowledgeable immigration attorney, so we can determine if this will affect your eligibility.

Applying for DAPA and expanded DACA

  • USCIS will begin accepting applications for expanded DACA on February 18, 2015.
  • USCIS will begin accepting applications for DAPA on May 20, 2015.
  • The USCIS application fee is $465, which is made up of a $380 fee for the employment authorization application and an $85 fee for fingerprints. There may be USCIS fee waivers in limited situations.
  • Our office legal fees are usually fixed, but can vary depending on the complexity of the case. We can discuss legal fees with you when we discuss your background and eligibility.

What to do now

  •  Meet with your knowledgeable immigration attorney to discuss your options and eligibility
  • Begin gathering documents that you will need to submit to prove:
    • Identity and relationship documents (birth certificates, passports, custody papers)
    • Immigration status documents for your USC or LPR child, if applying for DAPA (birth certificate or passport, naturalization certificate, or green card)
    • Residence since January 1, 2010 and physical presence since November 20, 2014 (if required):
      • financial records (lease agreements, phone bills, credit card bills, bank statements)
      • medical records
      • school records (diplomas, GED certificates, report cards, school transcripts
      • (Get one document for each 12-month period since January 1, 2010)
    • Education (transcripts, diplomas, GED, class rosters, grade sheets)
    • Employment history (taxes filed (if any), W-2s, pay stubs/receipts, IRS ITIN/ or SSA Social security card). Discuss filing of taxes with your attorney.
    • Letters of support (notarized, discussing the type of person you are, that you have lived here since the relevant date)
  • Criminal record
    • You should request a copy of your criminal history from your state or from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and from each court in which you had a criminal case, a letter describing what the judge ultimately decided in each case. This letter may be referred to as a “disposition letter” or “certificate of disposition.”
    • If it’s possible that you have an outstanding warrant, DO NOT go in person to request any of these records. If you know you have or even think you may have an outstanding warrant, you should consult with your knowledgeable immigration attorney to discuss the best way to get these records

Consult with your knowledgeable immigration lawyer about your eligibility for DACA (under either initial/renewal or expanded programs) or DAPA, and to begin working on your application – 215-791-7743