On June 15, 2012, the Secretary of Homeland Security announced that undocumented students who came to the United States as children and met several key guidelines may request deferred action—meaning not being deported— for a period of two years, subject to renewal. Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals can also provide benefits such as an Employment Authorization Document and Advance Parole. DACA was designed to address access to legal employment for qualified undocumented individuals. It is not a path to permanent residency, and you must apply to renew your DACA status every two years.
To qualify for DACA, you had to prove that you:
- Were under 31 years of age on June 15, 2012;
- Arrived in the United States before your 16th birthday;
- Were physically present in the United States on June 15, 2012; and
- Entered without inspection by this date, or your lawful immigration status expired as of this date.
If you have been granted Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, you are considered DACAmented and you are eligible to:
- Get a driver’s license
- Get a social security number
- Start building your credit history
- Go abroad (using a travel document known as Advance Parole*)
*DACA also gives you the opportunity to apply for an Advance Parole Document that allows you travel internationally (for reasons such as employment, humanitarian and educational – studying abroad on approved university programs) and safely return to the U.S.
The Educators For Fair Consideration website has useful legal information related to DACA, including a Frequently Asked Questions page.