If you came to the United States as a child and want to attempt to normalize your legal status, one of the best places to start is by applying for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. This program was put in place in June, 2012, and those who qualify will not be placed into removal proceedings for a set period of time. This period of time is initially for two years, but extensions can be filed.
While this program does not provide you with a lawful immigration status, it does give you the time you will need to seek out options such as applying for a visa, a green card, or other items that may be available based on your situation.
Who can qualify?
You can qualify for this program if you meet the following requirements:
- You came to the US prior to your 16th birthday
- You have lived in the US continuously since July 15, 2007
- As of June 15, 2012 you were under the age of 31
- If you either never had a lawful immigration status, or it had expired on or before June 15, 2012
- You are either in school now, have completed high school, or have completed your GED. You can also meet this requirement by being honorably discharged from the US Coast Guard or Armed Forces
- You have not been convicted of a felony, significant misdemeanor, or three or more misdemeanors
- You were physically in the US on June 15, 2012 and at the time of application for the DACA program
Filing for the DACA Program
To file for this program you will want to start by collecting any documents that can help show that you meet the above requirements. Once you have those together you will need to complete the following USCIS Forms and worksheets: I-821D, I-765, and I-765WS. We highly recommend that you consult an experienced immigration lawyer during this process! When you have completed the forms and worksheets, they need to be mailed to the USCIS along with the required fee. Finally, once your forms have been received you will need to make an appointment with the local USCIS Application Support Center for a biometric services appointment.
When each of these steps have been completed, the USCIS will continue processing your request. It can take some time to get through the entire process. While waiting, you can check the status of your application on the USCIS.gov website.
If this process sounds difficult or confusing, let us help! Please contact us today to learn more.