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Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)

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. Please select: 

Request DACA for the First Time            Renew Your DACA

 

What Is DACA

On June 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.
 

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Request DACA for the First Time

The following information explains the guidelines for requesting DACA for the first time. If you need further information and cannot find it in our Frequently Asked Questions, you can call our National Customer Service Center at 1-800-375-5283 or 1-800-767-1833 (TDD for the hearing-impaired). Customer service officers are available Monday-Friday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. in each U.S. time zone.

Find on this Page 
GuidelinesTravel Information
Filing ProcessNational Security and Public Safety Guidelines
Fee ExemptionsDon’t Be a Victim of Immigration Scams

Guidelines

You may request DACA if you:   

  1. Were under the age of 31 as of June 15, 2012;
  2. Came to the United States before reaching your 16th birthday;
  3. Have continuously resided in the United States since June 15, 2007, up to the present time;  
  4. 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;
  5. Had no lawful status on June 15, 2012;
  6. 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
  7. 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.

Age Guidelines

Anyone requesting DACA must have been under 31 years old 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:

Your situation Age
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 not over 31 years of age 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. 

Not above 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.

Timeframe for Meeting the Guidelines

You must demonstrate
That on June 15, 2012 you As of the date you file your request you
  • Were under  31 years old 
  • Were physically present in the United States
  • Had no lawful status
  • 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 DACAMeet education or military service guidelines for DACA

 I graduated from:

  • Public or private high school; or
  • Secondary school.
    Or
  • I have obtained a GED. 
Yes

I am currently enrolled in school.

See the Education section of the FAQs for a full explanation of who is considered currently in school.

Yes
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. No

I am an honorably discharged veteran of the Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the U.S.

Yes

Please see our Frequently Asked Questions for more detail on school-related guidelines.

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Filing Process for DACA

If you meet the guidelines for DACA, you will need to complete the following steps to make your request to USCIS.

DACA banner with forms

DACA IDCollect documents as evidence you meet the guidelines.
You will need to submit supporting documents with your request for DACA. You can submit legible copies of these documents unless the instructions specify you must submit an original document.

 

Examples of Documents to Submit to Demonstrate you Meet the Guidelines 
Please see the instructions to Form I-821D, Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, for further details on acceptable documentation. 

Proof of identity
  • Passport or national identity document from your country of origin
  • Birth certificate with photo identification
  • School or military ID with photo
  • Any U.S. government immigration or other document bearing your name and photo
Proof you came to U.S. before your 16th birthday
  • Passport with admission stamp
  • Form I-94/I-95/I-94W
  • School records from the U.S. schools you have attended
  • Any Immigration and Naturalization Service or DHS document stating your date of entry (Form I-862, Notice to Appear)
  • Travel records
  • Hospital or medical records
  • Employment records (pay stubs, W-2 Forms, etc.)
  • Official records from a religious entity confirming participation in a religious ceremony
  • Copies of money order receipts for money sent in or out of the country
  • Birth certificates of children born in the U.S.
  • Dated bank transactions
  • Automobile license receipts or registration
  • Deeds, mortgages, rental agreement contracts
  • Tax receipts, insurance policies

Proof of immigration status

  • Form I-94/I-95/I-94W with authorized stay expiration date
  • Final order of exclusion, deportation, or removal issued as of June 15, 2012
  • A charging document placing you into removal proceedings
Proof of presence in U.S. on June 15, 2012
  • Rent receipts or utility bills
  • Employment records (pay stubs, W-2 Forms, etc)
  • School records (letters, report cards, etc)
  • Military records (Form DD-214 or NGB Form 22)
  • Official records from a religious entity confirming participation in a religious ceremony
  • Copies of money order receipts for money sent in or out of the country
  • Passport entries
  • Birth certificates of children born in the U.S.
  • Dated bank transactions
  • Automobile license receipts or registration
  • Deeds, mortgages, rental agreement contracts
  • Tax receipts, insurance policies

Proof you continuously resided in U.S. since June 15, 2007 

Proof of your student status at the time of requesting DACA
  • Official records (transcripts, report cards, etc) from the school that you are currently attending in the United States.
  • U.S. high school diploma or certificate of completion 
  • U.S. GED certificate
Proof you are an honorably discharged veteran of the Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the U.S.
  • Form DD-214, Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty
  • NGB Form 22, National Guard Report of Separation and Record of Service
  • Military personnel records
  • Military health records


See our Frequently Asked Questions for information on submitting affidavits or circumstantial evidence to support your request.

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DACA formsComplete the required two forms and worksheet

 

Form name Fee

I-821D, Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals

Use the most recent version of the form linked on our website or USCIS will reject your form.

Total fee of $465. ($380 fee plus $85 fee for biometric services
fee for fingerprinting and photo.)

These fees cannot be waived.


   
   
I-765, Application for Employment Authorization

I-765WS, Worksheet

Completing You Forms

  • You must file the most recent version of Form I-821D from our website. USCIS will reject older versions of the form if you submit them.
  • Write your name, date of birth, and mailing address exactly the same way on each form.
  • We prefer that you download the forms from our website, fill them out electronically, and then print your completed forms to mail.
  • Make sure you are using the most current version of the forms. The correct, most current edition of every USCIS form is always available for free download on our website. 
  • If you complete the forms by hand, use black ink only. Do NOT use highlighters or red ink on your forms. These could make your materials unreadable when scanned.
  • If you must make changes on a form, we recommend that you begin with a new form, rather than trying to white out information. This can lead to scanning errors.
  • Ensure that you provide all required supporting documentation and evidence.
  • Be sure to sign all of your forms.

Filing Your Forms

  • USCIS will reject your request if you fail to submit Forms I-821D, I-765 and I-765WS and the $465 in fees.
  • Organize and label your evidence by the DACA guideline that it meets.
  • Be sure that you mail all pages of the forms.
  • Mail the forms to correct USCIS Lockbox.
  • You cannot e-file your DACA request.
  • If you have questions, call the Customer Service Center at 1-800-375-5283; do NOT visit a USCIS field office.
DACA mail

Mail your forms to the appropriate USCIS Lockbox.
See the mailing instructions for Form I-821D. Include the required forms, fees and supporting documentation with your filing. Remember to carefully follow instructions and fully complete your forms. USCIS will not accept incomplete forms or forms without proper fee. USCIS will mail you a receipt after accepting your request. You may also choose to receive an email and/or text message notifying you that your form has been accepted by completing a Form G-1145, E-Notification of Application/Petition Acceptance.

 

Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Biometrics

Visit an Application Support Center (ASC) for biometric services.
After USCIS receives your complete request with fees, we will send you a notice scheduling you to visit an ASC to for biometric services. If you fail to attend your ASC appointment, USCIS may deny your request DACA. Children under 14 in removal proceedings, with a final removal order, or with a voluntary departure order, and who are not in immigration detention, will appear at the ASC for photographs only.

 

DACA statusCheck the status of your request on Case Status Online.
The 90-day period for reviewing Form I-765 filed together with Form I-821D begins if and when USCIS decides to defer action in your case.

 

Fee Exemptions

There are very limited fee exemptions available. Your request for a fee exemption must be filed and favorably adjudicated before you file your DACA request without a fee. In order to be considered for a fee exemption, you must submit a letter and supporting documentation to USCIS demonstrating that you meet one of the following conditions:

  • You are under 18 years of age, have an income that is less than 150 percent of the U.S. poverty level, and are in foster care or otherwise lacking any parental or other familial support; or,
  • You are under 18 years of age and homeless; or,
  • You cannot care for yourself because you suffer from a serious, chronic disability and your income is less than 150 percent of the U.S. poverty level; or,
  • You have, at the time of the request, accumulated $10,000 or more in debt in the past 12 months as a result of unreimbursed medical expenses for yourself or an immediate family member, and your income is less than 150 percent of the U.S. poverty level.

 Submit the following types of evidence:

  • Affidavits from community-based or religious organizations to establish a requestor’s homelessness or lack of parental or other familial financial support.
  • Copies of tax returns, bank statement, pay stubs, or other reliable evidence of income level.
  • An affidavit from the applicant or a responsible third party attesting that the applicant does not file tax returns, has no bank accounts, and/or has no income to prove income level.
  • Copies of medical records, insurance records, bank statements, or other reliable evidence of unreimbursed medical expenses of at least $10,000.

USCIS will send you a Request for Evidence (RFE) if it has questions on the evidence you submitted.
You can find additional information on our Fee Exemption Guidance Web page.
Note: There are no fee waivers available for employment authorization applications connected to DACA.

If USCIS Grants DACA in Your Case

If USCIS grants DACA and employment authorization in your case, you will receive a written notice of that decision. An Employment Authorization Document will arrive separately in the mail. 

If USCIS Does Not Grant DACA in Your Case

If USCIS decides not to grant DACA in your case, you cannot appeal the decision or file a motion to reopen or reconsider. USCIS will not review its discretionary determinations.
We will apply our policy guidance governing the referral of cases to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the issuance of notices to appear. If your case does not involve a criminal offense, fraud, or a threat to national security or public safety, we will not refer your case to ICE for purposes of removal proceedings except where DHS determines there are exceptional circumstances. For more information on notices to appear, visit www.uscis.gov/NTA.

Administrative Errors

You may request a review using the Service Request Management Tool process if you met all of the DACA guidelines and you believe USCIS denied your request because of an administrative error.

Examples:

  • USCIS believes you abandoned your case by not responding to a request for evidence (RFE), and you believe you did respond within the prescribed time; or
  • USCIS mailed the RFE to the wrong address, even though you had submitted a Form AR-11, Change of Address, or changed your address online at www.uscis.gov before we issued the RFE.

You can find a full list of possible errors in our Frequently Asked Questions.  

To make a service request, you must call the National Customer Service Center at 1-800-375-5283. A USCIS customer service representative will then forward your request to the proper USCIS office. Your service request will be reviewed for accuracy and USCIS will send you a letter informing you of its decision.

The USCIS National Customer Service Center is now open Monday – Friday from 8 a.m. – 8 p.m. in each U.S. time zone.

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Travel Information

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.

 The following chart explains whether your travel will affect your continous residence.

Travel DatesType of TravelDoes it Affect Continuous Residence
On or after June 15, 2007, but before Aug. 15, 2012
  • brief
  • casual
  • innocent 
No
  • For an extended time
  • Because of an order of exclusion, deportation, or removal
  • To participate in criminal activity
Yes
After Aug. 15, 2012, and before you have requested DACA
  • Any

Yes. You cannot apply for advance parole unless and until DHS has determined whether to defer action in your case and you cannot travel until you receive advance parole.

 

After Aug. 15, 2012, and after you have requested DACA
  • Any

Yes. You cannot travel while your request is under review. You cannot apply for advance parole unless and until DHS has determined whether to defer action in your case.

In addition, if you have previously been ordered deported and removed and you depart the United States without taking additional steps to address your removal proceedings, your departure will likely result in your being considered deported or removed, with potentially serious future immigration consequences.

On or after Aug. 15, 2012, and receiving DACA
  • Any
It depends.  If you travel after receiving advance parole, the travel will not interrupt your continuous residence.  However, if you travel without receiving advance parole, the travel will interrupt your continuous residence.

Once USCIS has approved your request for DACA, you may file Form I-131, Application for Travel Document, to request advance parole to travel outside of the United States. If you travel outside the United States without first receiving advance parole, USCIS will automatically terminate your DACA.

USCIS is currently updating its policy on granting advanced parole for DACA recipients. Please check the Frequently Asked Questions  for the latest guidance.


For detailed information see the Travel section of the Frequently Asked Questions.

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National Security and Public Safety Guidelines

You will not be considered for DACA if you have been convicted of:

  • A felony offense;
  • A significant misdemeanor offense; or
  • Three or more other misdemeanor offenses  not occurring on the same date and not arising out of the same act, omission, or scheme of misconduct.

Or

  • You are otherwise deemed to pose a threat to national security or public safety.

What is the difference between “significant misdemeanor”, “non-significant misdemeanor”, and “felony”?

 

Felony Significant Misdemeanor Non-significant Misdemeanor
A felony is a federal, state or local criminal offense punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year.

 A significant misdemeanor is a misdemeanor as defined by federal law (specifically, one for which the maximum term of imprisonment authorized is one year or less but greater than five days) and:

  1. Regardless of the sentence imposed, is an offense of domestic violence; sexual abuse or exploitation; burglary; unlawful possession or use of a firearm; drug distribution or trafficking; or, driving under the influence; or,
  2. If not an offense listed above, is one for which the individual was sentenced to time in custody of more than 90 days. The sentence must involve time to be served in custody, and therefore does not include a suspended sentence. 

A crime is considered a non-significant misdemeanor (maximum term of imprisonment is one year or less but greater than five days) if it:

  1. Is not an offense of domestic violence; sexual abuse or exploitation; burglary; unlawful possession or use of a firearm; drug distribution or trafficking; or, driving under the influence; and
  2. Is one for which the individual was sentenced to time in custody of 90 days or less.

 

A minor traffic offense will not be considered a misdemeanor for purposes of DACA, However, driving under the influence is a significant misdemeanor regardless of the sentence.  You can find detailed information in the National Security and Public Safety section of the Frequent Asked Questions.

Don’t Be a Victim of Immigration Scams

Dishonest practitioners may promise to provide you with faster services if you pay them a fee. These people are trying to scam you and take your money. Visit our Avoid Scams page to learn how you can protect yourself from immigration scams.

Make sure you seek information about DACA from official government sources such as USCIS or the Department of Homeland Security. If you are seeking legal advice, visit our Find Legal Services page to learn how to choose a licensed attorney or accredited representative.

Remember you can download all USCIS forms for free at www.uscis.gov/forms.

Combatting Fraud

USCIS is committed to safeguarding the integrity of the immigration process. If you knowingly and willfully provide materially false information on Form I-821D, you will be committing a federal felony punishable by a fine, or imprisonment up to five years, or both, under 18 U.S.C. Section 1001.  In addition, individuals may be placed into removal proceedings, face severe penalties provided by law, and be subject to criminal prosecution.

 

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 Find this page at www.uscis.gov/childhoodarrivals

 

Last Reviewed/Updated: 08/15/2014