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What should I know about DACA?

Authored By: GeorgiaLegalAid.org
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DACA information

What should I know? +

Contents


What is the Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Program?

DACA is a program that allows people who came to the United States as children and are undocumented to be “lawfully present” in the country. People who are approved for DACA protections can lawfully live, work, and attend school in the U.S. without the threat of deportation. 

 

At this time, DACA does not give permanent legal status or provide a path to citizenship. The renewal period is every 2 years.This process may change, so check the USCIS website for the most up-to-date information.

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Who is eligible for DACA?

To be eligible for DACA protections, you must show that you:

  • Were under the age of 31 as of June 15, 2012;

  • Came to the United States before reaching the age of 16;

  • Have continuously lived in the United States since June 15, 2007;

    • Brief absences from the U.S. are sometimes allowed if they were before August 15, 2012.

  • Were physically present in the United States on June 15, 2012, and at the time of making the DACA request;

  • Had no lawful status on June 15, 2012;

  • Are: 

    • currently in some type of school,

    • have graduated or obtained a certificate of completion from high school,

    • have obtained a general education development (GED) certificate, OR

    • were an honorably discharged veteran of the Armed Forces of the United States; and

  • Have not been convicted of: 

    • a felony, 

    • significant misdemeanor, or

    • three or more other misdemeanors, and

  • Do not otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety.

 

Generally, to apply for DACA, you must be at least 15 years old. But, you can apply even if you are younger than 15 if you:

  • Are in removal (deportation) proceedings,

  • Have a final order of removal, or

  • Have an order of voluntary departure. 

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What are my rights and responsibilities if my DACA application is approved?

If you are approved for DACA protections, you:

  • Have a temporary stay against deportation while your protections are in effect,

  • Are able to work legally in the U.S. if your application for Employment Authorization is approved, 

  • Are protected by the laws of the United States, including:

    • The same rights in the workplace as any other employees, 

    • Rights when you come in contact with law enforcement or immigration officers.

 

You also have responsibilities as a DACA recipient, including paying yearly income taxes.

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What can I do? +

Contents


How do I apply for or renew DACA protections?

These rules may change, so check the Immi.org or USCIS website or for the most up-to-date information.

 

It is important to talk to an immigration attorney before you apply for DACA. There could be a risk to applying. If you apply, but do not meet the requirements, you could face deportation proceedings. 

 

To apply or request a renewal of DACA, you must submit a complete application to USCIS. If you do not turn in all of the required documents, your application will be returned. You must include:

  • Form I-821D Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals;

  • Form I-765 Application for Employment Authorization Document;

    • Form I-765 WS –EAD economic need supplement form

  • Application fees as listed on the USCIS website. As of 2020, the application fee is $495. There is no fee waiver for DACA fees, but you may be able to get a fee exemption if you:

    • Are in foster care,

    • Are disabled, or

    • Have medical care debt AND your income is below 150% of the poverty level. 

  • For new applications you must also submit evidence that you meet all of the criteria to qualify for DACA. This includes proof of:

    • age; 

    • entry date; 

    • continuous presence; 

    • school enrollment or military service.

 

When to file: You should file your request between 150 and 120 days before your current grant of DACA expires. USCIS will generally reject renewal requests more than 150 days before your current grant of DACA expires.

 

If you live in Georgia, return your completed application to:

For U.S. Postal Service:

USCIS Chicago Lockbox Facility

USCIS

P.O. Box 5757

Chicago, IL 60680-5757

 

For FedEx, UPS, and DHL deliveries:

USCIS Chicago Lockbox Facility

USCIS

Attn: DACA

131 S. Dearborn – 3rd Floor

Chicago, IL 60603-5517

 

There is no right to appeal if your application is denied. But, you can apply again.

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Information

 

Forms

  • Form I-821D Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals;

  • Form I-765 Application for Employment Authorization Document;

 

Legal help

Last Review and Update: Dec 11, 2020