Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)

On November 20, 2014, the government announced a new DACA policy.  Under the new policy, childhood arrivals to the United States could be eligible for deferred action if they meet the following requirements:

  1. He or she came to the United States before the age of 16;
  2. He or she has continuously resided in the United States since at least January 1, 2010;
  3. He or she is currently in school, has graduated from high school, has obtained a general education development certificate (GED), or is an honorably discharged veteran of the Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the United States;
  4. He or she has not been convicted of a felony offense, a significant misdemeanor offense; multiple misdemeanor offenses, or otherwise poses a threat to national security or public safety.

Under the new policy, there is no longer a requirement that the applicant be born before June 15, 1981. Additionally, DACA would be granted for an initial period of three years instead of two. However, due to a federal court order, USCIS will not accept applications under the new DACA policy.


Applicants may continue to request DACA under the original guidelines.


To qualify for DACA under the original guidelines, a person must meet the following requirements:

  1. He or she came to the United States under the age of sixteen;
  2. He or she has continuously resided in the United States for at least five years before June 15, 2012, and continues to reside in the United States at the present time;
  3. He or she is currently in school, has graduated from high school, has obtained a general education development certificate (GED), or is an honorably discharged veteran of the Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the United States;
  4. Has not been convicted of a felony offense, a significant misdemeanor offense; multiple misdemeanor offenses, or otherwise poses a threat to national security or public safety; and
  5. Is not above the age of thirty.

Anyone who meets these requirements may request deferred action.  This includes people who ARE NOT in removal proceedings, people who ARE in removal proceedings, and people who have previously been ordered removed by the government.  The government will be looking at the cases on a “case-by-case” basis, which means there are no clear rules about which people will receive deferred action.

Deferred action is not the same thing as legal status, and does not mean that a person can apply for a green card or U.S. citizenship.  If the government grants deferred action, that status will be valid for two years, after which time the person may apply to renew that status.


Even if a person’s DACA case is approved, he or she cannot travel outside the United States without first obtaining permission from USCIS, by applying for a travel document called Advance Parole.  In order to qualify for Advance Parole, a person must show a need to travel for educational, employment, or humanitarian reasons.  Failure to obtain Advance Parole prior to leaving the United States means that the DACA recipient will not be able to re-enter the United States.


Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA)


Due to a federal court order, the DAPA program is currently suspended until further notice.  Contact Lisa Green & Associates for updates on the availability of the DAPA program.


On November 20, 2014, USCIS announced a new policy for parents of U.S. Citizens and Lawful Permanent Residents called DAPA. In order to qualify for DAPA, a person must:


  1. Have lived in the United States continuously since January 1, 2010;
  2. Have a U.S. Citizen or LPR son or daughter born on or before November 20, 2014;
  3. Must not be an enforcement priority for removal from the United States under the November 20, 2014, Policies for the Apprehension, Detention and Removal of Undocumented Immigrants Memorandum. Enforcement priorities include (but are not limited to) national security and public safety threats.

If granted DAPA, a person will receive work authorization for an initial period of three years. It is important to understand that DAPA is not the same thing as status, and a DAPA recipient will not be able to travel outside of the U.S. without advance permission from the U.S. government Also, USCIS will consider each request for Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) on a case-by-case basis, so as of yet there are no clear guidelines on who will or will not qualify.


Contact Us