Posted on: 17 May 2022
Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, better known as DACA, is a citizenship program available to undocumented immigrants who were essentially brought to the United States by their caregiver or guardian. The program is wide-reaching in that many immigrant children fall under this umbrella, but it is important to note that not everyone qualifies. The program has its own set of guidelines and processing criteria that must be adhered to.
To begin the initial application process, any person who falls under the program's umbrella must adhere to specific qualifications regarding their age at the time of arrival, education status, criminal status, and other criteria. Concerning the applicants' age upon arrival, you must not have been over 16 when you arrived in the country.
Regarding education status, applicants must have either a high school diploma or general education development (GED) certificate or be in the process of completion or have an honorable discharge from the Armed Forces. In terms of a criminal background, an applicant cannot have a felony, severe misdemeanor, or multiple misdemeanors.
Just because you meet all the qualifications for the DACA program, it does not mean that you will be granted access to the program automatically. Every individual must submit an initial application to be included in the program.
In addition to completing the application, you will need to submit photos of yourself, an original birth certificate, school records, and proof of your age at arrival. It is helpful to partner with an attorney for this step to ensure you have all supporting documentation included, as missing information can slow down processing or lead to a denial.
It is also noteworthy to mention that acceptance into the DACA program is not a permanent fix. If you cannot solidify your citizenship status before the end date of the original approval, you will need to apply for a renewal. You may not be required to resubmit all the paperwork you did with the initial application, but you will be required to verify your criminal status, as any change in your status can change your eligibility for the program even after initial approval.
Additionally, the renewal application must be submitted in the renewal window provided to you. If you miss this window, your protected status could end immediately.
If you believe you are eligible for the DACA program, it can be helpful to begin the process with a family immigration attorney. Speak with an attorney to verify your status and begin the process.Share