Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Process
FAQs updated January 18, 2013
On June 15, 2012, the Secretary of Homeland Security announced that certain people who came to the United States as children and meet several key guidelines may request consideration of deferred action for a period of two years, subject to renewal, and would then be eligible for work authorization. Deferred action is a discretionary determination to defer removal action of an individual as an act of prosecutorial discretion. Deferred action does not provide an individual with lawful status.
If you need further information and cannot find it on this Web page or in our Frequently Asked Questions, you may contact 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. – 8 p.m. in each U.S. time zone.
View the Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Process Video
You may request consideration of deferred action for childhood arrivals if you:
Anyone requesting consideration for deferred action under this process must have been under 31 years old as of June 15, 2012. You must also be at least 15 years or older to request deferred action, unless you are currently in removal proceedings or have a final removal or voluntary departure order, as summarized in the table below:
Timeframe for Meeting the Guidelines
Education and Military Service Guidelines
Please see our Frequently Asked Questions for more detail on school-related guidelines.
If you meet the guidelines for deferred action under this process, you will need to complete the following steps to make your request to USCIS.
There are no fee waivers available for the deferred action for childhood arrivals process. Fee exemptions are available in very limited circumstances. Visit the Fee Exemption page for more details.
If USCIS Defers Action in Your Case
If USCIS defers action in your case and grants employment authorization, you will receive a notice of decision in writing and an Employment Authorization Document separately in the mail.
If USCIS Does Not Exercise Deferred Action in Your Case
If USCIS decides not to defer action in your case, you cannot appeal the decision or file a motion to reopen or reconsider. USCIS will not review its discretionary determinations.
USCIS 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 (NTA). Your case does not involve a criminal offense, fraud, or a threat to national security or public safety, your case will not be referred to ICE for purposes of removal proceedings except where DHS determines there are exceptional circumstances. For more detailed information on the applicable NTA policy visit www.uscis.gov/NTA.
You may request a review using the Service Request Management Tool process if you met all of the process guidelines and you believe that your request was denied because of an administrative error. Examples of administrative errors include USCIS denying your request for deferred action because:
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.
Certain travel outside the United States may affect the continuous residence guideline. Traveling outside the U.S. before August 15, 2012, will not interrupt your continuous residence if the travel was brief, casual, and innocent. If you travel outside the United States after August 15, 2012, and before your request for deferred action is adjudicated, you will not be considered for deferred action under this process.
The following chart explains whether your travel will affect your continous residence.
Once USCIS has approved your request for consideration of deferred action, 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 deferred action.
USCIS will only grant advance parole if your travel abroad will be for:
Travel for vacation is not a valid purpose.
If mailing using U.S. Postal Service:
If mailing using USPS express mail/courier:
Note: If you have been ordered deported or removed, and you then leave the United States, your departure may result in your being considered deported or removed, with potentially serious future immigration consequences.
For detailed information see the Travel section of the Frequently Asked Questions.
What is the difference between “significant misdemeanor”, “non-significant misdemeanor”, and “felony”?
A minor traffic offense will not be considered a misdemeanor for purposes of this process, but it is important to emphasize that driving under the influence is a significant misdemeanor regardless of the sentence imposed. You can find detailed information in the National Security and Public Safety section of the Frequent Asked Questions.
Individuals whose case is deferred under this process will not be placed into removal proceedings or removed from the United States for a period of two years, unless terminated. You may request consideration for a two-year extension of deferred action through a process to be detailed in the future. As long as you were under the age of 31 on June 15, 2012, you may request a renewal even after turning 31. Your request for an extension will be considered on a case-by-case basis.
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 consideration of deferred action for childhood arrivals 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.
USCIS is committed to safeguarding the integrity of the immigration process. If individuals knowingly make a misrepresentation, or knowingly fail to disclose facts, in an effort to have their case deferred or obtain work authorization through this process, they will be treated as an immigration enforcement priority to the fullest extent permitted by law, and be subject to criminal prosecution and/or removal from the United States.
Find this page at www.uscis.gov/childhoodarrivals
Last Reviewed/Updated: 07/02/2013
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