Attorney David Chesley's Criminal Defense Blog

Applying for Deferred Action (DACA)

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On June 15, 2012, the Secretary of Homeland Security announced that certain young people who were brought to this country illegally through no fault of their own, will be allowed to apply for deferred action for a period of two years.

The requirement for applying are as follows:

  • You must have been 15 years of age or younger at the time of your arrival to the U.S.
  • You must have lived in the U.S. a minimum of 5 consecutive years prior to the release of the memorandum that made deferred action possible
  • You must be a current student or must have graduated from school in the U.S. or have an honorable discharge from the armed services.
  • You must be under the age of 30.
  • You should not have a felony on your record, or certain misdemeanors.

Even though deferred action will make your status in this country legal, it does not equal citizenship or permanent residency. Deferred action is a 2 year deferral from any type of removal action. If deferred action is granted, you may also be given employment authorization.

Even if you are currently facing removal proceedings, you can still apply for deferred action if you meet all the requirements stated above.

In order to apply for deferred action, the USCIS will require you to fill out three forms.

Before submitting these forms to the USCIS, they must be filled out completely and accompanied by the required fees and all documentation required. Please read each form’s instructions carefully and verify all the information is correct before submitting them.

If your application does not include the required fees, the USCIS will not consider your application. The fees for the form listed above total $465 dollars, this includes the fee for each form and a biometric services fee.


In order to prove that you meet the guidelines for deferred action, you must provide the documentation required by form I-812D. Below we will explain the documentation required and provide an example for each one.

Proof of Identity:

This must be a document bearing your name and a photo of you, such as a passport, birth certificate, school or military ID or any U.S. government document that has the required information.

Proof that you were in the U.S. before turning 16:

This may be any document that states your date of entry, such as a passport with an admission stamp or school records proving you attended school in the U.S. before the age of 16. You may also provide any travel records or medical records that prove you were in the country before your 16th birthday.

Proof of Immigration status:

In order to apply you must provide documentation that shows your current immigration status, such as an expired visa. If you entered without inspection (EWI) you don’t need to provide proof of your immigration status.

Proof of Presence in the U.S.

You must prove that you were here on June 15, 2012 or that you continuously resided in the U.S. since June 15 2007. What you provide for this will vary depending on your current situation, it may be rent receipts, military records, school records, passport entries, birth certificates of children born in the U.S. dated bank transactions, insurance policies, or tax receipts.

The documents stated above are only a few examples of the documentation you may provide in order to proof your presence in the U.S.

Proof of Student Status or Honorable Military Discharge:

School records from your current school, or your high school diploma or GED will be required along with your application. If you are submitting proof of an honorable military discharge, you must provide a certificate of release, discharge from active duty, military personnel records, military health records or your record of service.

Once you have gathered the required documentation, filled out all the required forms, gathered all the fees and submitted everything to the USCIS lockbox, you will have to wait for the USCIC to contact you. Once they receive your packet, they will review it for completeness, if everything is in order they will send you a receipt, followed by a notice for the biometrics services appointment. Missing you biometrics appointment can delay the process of your application, and can even lead to your application being denied.

If the USCIS requires any more information or documentation, they will contact you and may require you to appear the USCIS office. The USCIS will notify every individual who applied for deferred action of its determination by mail.

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