What is DACA?
Deffered Action for Childhood Arrival
Is a United States immigration policy that allows some individuals with unlawful presence in the United States after being brought to the country as children to receive a renewable two-year period of deferred action from deportation and become eligible for a work permit in the U.S. To be eligible for the program, recipients cannot have felonies or serious misdemeanors on their records.
Unlike the proposed DREAM Act, DACA does not provide a path to citizenship for recipients.The policy, an executive branch memorandum, was announced by President Barack Obama on June 15, 2012. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) began accepting applications for the program on August 15, 2012.
The Secretary of Homeland Security announced that certain people who came to the United States as children and meet several guidelines may request consideration of deferred action for a period of two years, subject to renewal. They are also eligible for work authorization. Deferred action is a use of prosecutorial discretion to defer removal action against an individual for a certain period of time. Deferred action does not provide lawful status.
Important information about DACA requests
Consideration of DACA
Due to federal court orders, USCIS has resumed accepting requests to renew a grant of deferred action under DACA. USCIS is not accepting requests from individuals who have never before been granted deferred action under DACA. Until further notice, and unless otherwise provided in this guidance, the DACA policy will be operated on the terms in place before it was rescinded on Sept. 5, 2017.
For more information, visit Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals: Response to January 2018 Preliminary Injunction.
This page provides information on requesting consideration of deferred action for childhood arrivals (DACA). You may request DACA for the first time or renew your existing period of DACA if it is expiring.
Request DACA for the first time
The following information explains USCIS guidelines for requesting DACA for the first time.
You may request DACA if you:
- Were under the age of 31 as of June 15, 2012;
- Came to the United States before reaching your 16th birthday;
- Have continuously resided in the United States since June 15, 2007, up to the present time;
- Were physically present in the United States on June 15, 2012, and at the time of making your request for consideration of deferred action with USCIS;
- Had no lawful status on June 15, 2012;
- Are currently in school, have graduated or obtained a certificate of completion from high school, have obtained a general education development (GED) certificate, or are an honorably discharged veteran of the Coast Guard or 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.
Anyone requesting DACA must have been under the age of 31 as of June 15, 2012. You must also be at least 15 years or older to request DACA, unless you are currently in removal proceedings or have a final removal or voluntary departure order, as summarized in the table below:
I have never been in removal proceedings, or my proceedings have been terminated before making my request.
- At least 15 years old at the time of submitting your request and under the age of 31 as of June 15, 2012.
I am in removal proceedings, have a final removal order, or have a voluntary departure order, and I am not in immigration detention.
- Under the age of 31 as of June 15, 2012, but you may be younger than 15 years old at the time you submit your request.
You must demonstrate that:
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.
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.
Education and Military Service Guidelines:
Your school or military status at the time of requesting DACA
I graduated from: Public or private high school; or Secondary school; Or
I have obtained a GED.
I am currently enrolled in school:
- See the Education section of the FAQs for a full explanation of who is considered currently in school.
- I was in school but dropped out and did not graduate. I am not currently in school and am not an honorably discharged veteran of the Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the U.S. (this does not meet guidelines)
- I am an honorably discharged veteran of the Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the U.S.
If you meet the guidelines for DACA, you will need to complete the following steps to make your request to USCIS.
Contact us for assistance in filling your DACA application, USCIS will reject your request if you fail to submit your application correctly.
Certain travel outside the United States may aﬀect the continuous residence guideline. Traveling outside the U.S. before Aug. 15, 2012, will not interrupt your continuous residence if the travel was brief, casual, and innocent. If you travel outside the United States after Aug. 15, 2012, and before we decide your request for DACA, you will not be considered for DACA.