The following discusses general issues relating to DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals). It does not constitute legal advice. Each situation is different and requires a specific legal analysis. Contact CLA for assistance.
Last updated: May 2019 | Leer en español
DACA – Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals
The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) sometimes provides temporary forms of immigration status for people in the U.S. One type of temporary status is DACA - Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. DACA was first created in June 2012. Currently, people can renew DACA (even if their DACA has expired), but they cannot file brand new DACA applications. There have been a lot of important changes to DACA since it was first announced and there will be more changes in the future. Check the USCIS website for the most up to date information (WWW.USCIS.GOV) or contact CLA.
What is DACA?
DACA is an immigration category for certain people who came to the United States as children. There are other factors that affect eligibility, such as criminal history. People who receive DACA are temporarily protected against being removed from the U.S. and can get work authorization.
Can I Apply for DACA Now if I Never Applied Before?
No. Currently, people can only renew DACA, but they cannot apply for the first time.
My DACA is Going to Expire Soon. Can I Apply to Renew It?
Yes. You can renew your DACA before it expires and even after it has expired.
Caution for People with a Criminal History
Anyone who has a criminal history or has ever been arrested should consult with CLA or another experienced immigration lawyer before applying to renew their DACA. You may not be eligible and it may put you at risk for deportation if you apply and get denied.
What Happens if my DACA is Renewed?
People who are granted DACA are temporarily protected from removal or deportation from the U.S. and can receive work authorization.
How Long Does my DACA Last?
DACA, and the work card that comes with DACA, are usually granted for 2 years at a time.
What is Happening Now with DACA?
The current Administration is trying to end DACA. They will no longer allow first-time applications and have announced that they would like DACA to end for everyone. However, because of lawsuits that have been filed by people and organizations that support DACA and DREAMers, USCIS is still forced to accept DACA renewals. If your DACA is expiring some time within the next year, you should consider filing a renewal now. If your DACA already expired, you should also think about renewing.
Can I Travel outside the U.S. if I have DACA?
No. DACA does not authorize people to travel outside the U.S. Currently, USCIS is not granting permission for people with DACA to travel outside the U.S.
Will I Get a Green Card if I’ve Been Approved for DACA?
DACA does not directly lead to a green card. However, anyone who has DACA should evaluate whether they have other immigration options that could lead to a green card, such as having a close relative who is already a U.S. Citizen or green card holder who can sponsor you. If you have questions, contact CLA for an evaluation of possible immigration options.