How to Apply for DACA: A Comprehensive Guide
Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) is a program that provides certain undocumented individuals who came to the United States as children with temporary protection from deportation and the ability to work legally in the United States. If you are eligible for DACA, here is a comprehensive guide on how to apply:
Step 1: Determine Your Eligibility
To be eligible for DACA, you must meet the following criteria:
1. You were under the age of 31 on June 15, 2012.
2. You came to the United States before your 16th birthday.
3. You have continuously lived in the United States since June 15, 2007.
4. You were physically present in the United States on June 15, 2012, and when you apply for DACA.
5. You have no lawful immigration status at the time you apply for DACA.
6. You are currently in school, have graduated or obtained a certificate of completion from high school, have obtained a GED certificate, or you are an honorably discharged veteran of the Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the United States.
7. You have not been convicted of a felony, a significant misdemeanor, or three or more misdemeanors, and do not pose a threat to national security or public safety.
If you meet all of the above criteria, you may be eligible to apply for DACA.
Step 2: Gather Documents
To apply for DACA, you will need to gather the following documents:
1. Form I-821D, Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals
2. Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization
3. Form I-765 Worksheet
4. Evidence of age, identity, and entry into the United States before age 16. Examples include a passport, birth certificate, or school records.
5. Evidence of continuous residence in the United States since June 15, 2007. Examples include school records, medical records, and utility bills.
6. Evidence of educational status, such as a diploma, transcript, or GED certificate.
7. Two passport-style photographs.
8. A fee of $495. Some individuals may be eligible for fee waivers.
Step 3: Submit Your Application
Once you have completed your application and gathered all necessary documents, you can submit your application to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) by mail. Before submitting your application, make sure to review it carefully to ensure that all information is accurate and complete.
Step 4: Wait for a Decision
After submitting your application, you will receive a receipt notice from USCIS. This notice will include a case number that you can use to track your application’s status. USCIS will review your application and will either approve it, request additional information, or deny it. The process of obtaining a decision can take several months.
In conclusion, applying for DACA can be a complex process, but it is essential for eligible individuals who wish to obtain temporary protection from deportation and the ability to work legally in the United States. By following this comprehensive guide, you can navigate the application process with confidence and increase your chances of success. If you encounter any difficulties during the process, seeking the assistance of an experienced immigration attorney can also be valuable.