Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals: The DACA Application Process

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Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals: The DACA Application Process

Get It Right The First Time With A Joliet Immigration Lawyer.

The US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) began accepting applications under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program in 2012, giving eligible non-citizens a remedy from deportation proceedings and the ability to work legally in the US. However, eligibility alone does not automatically take effect: You must apply for consideration, meet the legal requirements in order to obtain DACA protections, and pay the proper application fees. The application process can be complicated, especially considering the documentary proof you need to support your claim of eligibility. Plus, a denial can leave you with limited options. For these reasons, it’s smart to consult with a Chicago immigration lawyer with experience in DACA matters and educate yourself on the basic application process.

Eligibility Rules: Under the most recent regulations, you may qualify for DACA status if:

  • You came to the US to live when you were under age 16;
  • You’ve continuously lived in the US from June 15, 2010 through the date you apply;
  • You either entered the country either with or without inspection, with a base date of June 15, 2012;
  • You are a student, have graduated from high school, earned a GED certificate, or were honorably discharged from the US military; and,
  • You have not been convicted of a felony or certain misdemeanors, and don’t pose a threat to national security.

The Application Process: The USCIS first began accepting applications under the original DACA program in August 2012, and the general documentation requirements remain the same. You will need to complete Form I-821-D, Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, as well as Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization. You must also submit a worksheet on Form I-765WS, where you can describe your financial situation and why you need authorization to work in the US. In addition to the forms, you’ll need to supply documentation showing how you meet the above eligibility rules. To support your application, you may include:

  • Your birth certificate;
  • Documents related to past contacts with immigration authorities;
  • Travel receipts showing entry into the US;
  • School records, such as diplomas or GED certificates;
  • Affidavits of people who know you as a friend, teacher, employer, religious contacts, or others;
  • Bank and credit card records showing payment activity in the US;
  • Tax records;
  • Medical records; and,
  • Any other documents that relate to your DACA eligibility.

Keep in mind that you cannot appeal the decision, even if you commit errors with the application documents. Authorities can initiate removal proceedings at any time, so it’s important to get your DACA application in order the first time.

Consult with a Qualified Immigration Lawyer

Even if you qualify for protection under the DACA program, you still need to file the proper application and submit supporting documentation in order to be approved. If you make any mistakes that lead to a denial of your application, you’re left with few options for appeal. This is why it’s critical to discuss your circumstances with an immigration lawyer that has extensive experience in DACA cases. The attorneys at Kriezelman Burton & Associates, LLC have been representing clients in immigration matters for more than 40 years, so please contact our Chicago office to discuss your options.