Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, is a federal program initiated in 2012 to provide protection from removal from the United States and employment authorization for certain young undocumented individuals who entered the United State as minors.
To be eligible for DACA if you must demonstrate:
That on June 15, 2012 you:
- Were under the age of 31 years
- Were physically present in the United States
- Had no lawful status
As of the date you file your request you:
- Have resided continuously in the U.S. since June 15, 2007;
- Had come to the United States before your 16th birthday, and you are now at least 15 years old
- Were physically present in the United States; and
- Are in school, have graduated from high school in the United States, or have a GED; or
- Are an honorably discharged veteran of the Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the United States
You will not be eligible for DACA if you have been convicted of:
- A felony offense;
- A significant misdemeanor offense; or
- Three or more other misdemeanor offenses not occurring on the same date and not arising out of the same act, omission, or scheme of misconduct, or
- You are otherwise deemed to pose a threat to national security or public safety.
Difference between “significant misdemeanor”, “non-significant misdemeanor”, and “felony”:
- A felony is a federal, state or local criminal offense punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year.
- A significant misdemeanor is a misdemeanor as defined by federal law (specifically, one for which the maximum term of imprisonment authorized is one year or less but greater than five days) and:
- Regardless of the sentence imposed, is an offense of domestic violence; sexual abuse or exploitation; burglary; unlawful possession or use of a firearm; drug distribution or trafficking; or, driving under the influence; or,
- If not an offense listed above, is one for which the individual was sentenced to time in custody of more than 90 days. The sentence must involve time to be served in custody, and therefore does not include a suspended sentence.
- A crime is considered a non-significant misdemeanor (maximum term of imprisonment is one year or less but greater than five days) if it:
- Is not an offense of domestic violence; sexual abuse or exploitation; burglary; unlawful possession or use of a firearm; drug distribution or trafficking; or, driving under the influence; and
- Is one for which the individual was sentenced to time in custody of 90 days or less.
If your initial two-year grant of deferred action for childhood arrivals (DACA) is expiring, you may request a renewal.
You may request a renewal if you:
- Did not depart the United States on or after Aug. 15, 2012, without advance parole;
- Have continuously resided in the United States since you submitted your most recent DACA request that was approved; and
- Have not been convicted of a felony, a significant misdemeanor, or three or more misdemeanors, and do not otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety.
- You should submit your DACA renewal request between 150 days and 120 days before the expiration date located on your current Form I-797 DACA approval notice and Employment Authorization Document (EAD). Filing during this window will minimize the possibility that your current period of DACA will expire before you receive a decision on your renewal request.
If your DACA expires before you receive a renewal:
- You will accrue unlawful presence for any time between the periods of deferred action, unless you were under 18 years of age at the time you submitted your renewal request
- Not be authorized to work in the United States regardless of your age at the time of filing
To learn more about your options contact our San Francisco law firm to speak with one of our immigration attorneys.