Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)
ALERT: Court decisions regarding DACA.
On Sept. 13, 2023, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas issued a decision finding the DACA Final Rule unlawful and expanding the original July 16, 2021 injunction and order of vacatur to cover the Final Rule. However, the court maintained a partial stay of the order for “all DACA recipients who received their initial DACA status prior to July 16, 2021.” See the Memorandum and Order (PDF, 1.35 MB) and Supplemental Order of Injunction (PDF, 72.53 KB).
Accordingly, current grants of DACA and related Employment Authorization Documents (EADs) remain valid until they expire, unless individually terminated. In accordance with this decision, USCIS will continue to accept and process DACA renewal requests and accompanying applications for employment authorization under the DACA regulations at 8 CFR 236.22 and 236.23, as it has since October 31, 2022. We will also continue to accept initial DACA requests, but in accordance with the District Court’s order, we will not process initial DACA requests.
Current valid grants of DACA and related EADs will continue to be recognized as valid under the Final Rule. This means that individuals with DACA and related EADs do not have to submit a request for DACA or employment authorization until the appropriate time to seek renewal.
Please see the DACA Litigation Information Page for important updates and information related to court rulings on the DACA policy.
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 note: While a July 16, 2021, injunction (PDF, 401.59 KB) from the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas, which was affirmed by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, and on Oct. 14, 2022 was extended by the district court to the DACA final rule, remains in effect, DHS is prohibited from granting initial DACA requests and related employment authorization under the final rule.
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 2 years, subject to renewal. They are also eligible to request work authorization. Deferred action is an exercise of prosecutorial discretion to defer removal action against an individual for a certain period of time. Deferred action does not provide lawful status.
On Aug. 30, 2022, DHS published the DACA Final Rule, with the intent to preserve and fortify the DACA policy. This rule, which puts into effect regulations at 8 CFR 236.21-236.25, rescinds and replaces the DACA guidance set forth in the 2012 Memorandum issued by Secretary Napolitano.
The following information explains the guidelines for requesting DACA for the first time. Please note: While a July 16, 2021, injunction (PDF, 401.59 KB) from the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas, which was affirmed by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, and on Oct. 14, 2022 was extended by the district court to the DACA final rule, remains in effect, DHS is prohibited from granting initial DACA requests and related employment authorization under the final rule. If you need further information and cannot find it in our Frequently Asked Questions, you can call the USCIS Contact Center at 800-375-5283. For people who are deaf, hard of hearing, or have a speech disability: TTY 800-767-1833. Representatives are available Monday-Friday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Eastern Time.
A request for DACA may be granted only if USCIS determines in its sole discretion that you meet each of the following threshold criteria and merit a favorable exercise of discretion:
- Were under the age of 31 as of June 15, 2012 (that is, you were born on or after June 16, 1981);
- Came to the United States before reaching your 16th birthday;
- Have continuously resided in the United States since June 15, 2007, up to the time of filing your request for DACA;
- Were physically present in the United States on June 15, 2012, and at the time of filing your request for DACA with USCIS;
- Had no lawful immigration status on June 15, 2012, and at the time of filing your request for DACA, meaning that:
- You never had a lawful immigration status on or before June 15, 2012, or
- Any lawful immigration status or parole that you obtained had expired as of June 15, 2012, and
- Any lawful status that you had after June 15, 2012, expired or otherwise terminated before you submitted your request for DACA;
- Are currently enrolled 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 United States Coast Guard or armed forces of the United States; and
- Have not been convicted of a felony, significant misdemeanor (that is, a misdemeanor as described in 8 CFR 236.22(b)(6)), or 3 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 (this means you must have been born on or after June 16, 1981).
Timeframe for Meeting the Guidelines
You must demonstrate
|That on June 15, 2012, you
|As of the date you file your request you
Education and Military Service Guidelines
|Your school or military status at the time of requesting DACA
|Meet education or military service guidelines for DACA
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 I dropped out and did not graduate. I am not currently enrolled in school and am not an honorably discharged veteran of the U.S. Coast Guard or armed forces of the United States.
|I am an honorably discharged veteran of the U.S. Coast Guard or armed forces of the United States.
Please see our Frequently Asked Questions for more detail on school-related guidelines.
If you meet the guidelines for DACA, you will need to complete the following steps to make your request to USCIS.
|Collect 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
|Proof of identity
|Proof you came to the United States before your 16th birthday
Proof of immigration status
|Proof of presence in U.S. on June 15, 2012
Proof you continuously resided in U.S. since June 15, 2007
|Proof of your student status at the time of requesting DACA
|Proof you are an honorably discharged veteran of the U.S. Coast Guard or armed forces of the United States
See our Frequently Asked Questions for information on submitting affidavits or circumstantial evidence to support your request.
|Complete the required 2 forms and worksheet
Use the most recent version of the form linked on our website or USCIS will reject your form.
Please review the Filing Fee section of the Forms I-821D
These fees cannot be waived.
|I-765, Application for Employment Authorization
I-765WS, Worksheet (PDF, 243.14 KB)
Please see www.uscis.gov/i-765 for the edition date of the Form I-765 and Form I-765WS currently being accepted.
Completing Your Forms
Filing Your Forms
Mail your forms to the appropriate USCIS Lockbox.
UPDATE: Create a USCIS online account for DACA requests.
Anyone who submits a DACA request can create a USCIS online account to track and manage their case online. If you submit a DACA request, you will receive a USCIS Account Acceptance Notice in the mail with instructions on how to create a USCIS online account.
Having a USCIS online account allows you to:
If you are an attorney or accredited representative, creating a USCIS online account will allow you to manage all of your clients’ DACA requests in one place. We will continue processing your DACA request even if you choose not to access your USCIS online account. You will continue to receive notifications and updates about your case by mail through the U.S. Postal Service.
Note for Attorneys and Accredited Representatives: You should have only 1 USCIS online representative account. When you receive an Account Acceptance Notice for a paper form filed at a USCIS Lockbox on behalf of your client, please ensure that you enter the same personal information that you provided on the Form G-28 submitted with your client’s original application, petition or request. If the information you use to access your online representative account does not match the information you provided on the Form G-28, you may be unable to access your client’s case.
Visit an Application Support Center (ASC) for biometric services.
|You can check the status of your case on Case Status Online or by logging into your USCIS online account.
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 1 of the following conditions:
- 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;
- 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; or
- You are under 18 years of age, your income is less than 150 percent of the U.S. poverty level, and you are:
- In foster care; or
- Otherwise lacking any parental or other familial support.
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.
We will send you a Request for Evidence (RFE) if we have questions about the evidence you submitted.
You can find additional information on our Fee Exemption Guidance Web page.
Note: There are no fee waivers available for DACA requests and employment authorization applications connected to DACA.
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.
In general, only noncitizens who have permission from DHS to work can apply for a Social Security number. If USCIS grants DACA, you can find additional information about Social Security Number and Card for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (PDF) on the Social Security Administration website.
If USCIS denies your request for DACA, you cannot file an administrative appeal or a motion to reopen or reconsider. See 8 CFR 23.23(c)(3). USCIS will not review its discretionary determination to deny your request for DACA.
Under 8 CFR 236.23(c)(2), USCIS will not issue a Notice to Appear or refer a requestor’s case to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) for possible enforcement action based on the denial of your DACA request unless we determine that your case involves denial for fraud, a threat to national security, or public safety concerns. For more information on notices to appear, visit uscis.gov/NTA.
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.
- 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 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 USCIS Contact Center at 800-375-5283. For people who are deaf, hard of hearing, or have a speech disability: TTY 800-767-1833. A USCIS 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 Contact Center is open Monday – Friday from 8 a.m. – 8 p.m. Eastern Time.
Certain travel outside the United States may affect the continuous residence guideline. Traveling outside the United States 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 on or after Aug. 15, 2012, and before we make a decision on your request for DACA, you will not be considered for DACA.
The following chart explains whether your travel will affect your continuous residence.
|Type of Travel
|Does it Affect Continuous Residence
|On or after June 15, 2007, but before Aug. 15, 2012
|On or after Aug. 15, 2012, and before you have requested DACA
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.
|On or after Aug. 15, 2012, and after you have requested DACA
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 after receiving DACA
|It depends. If you travel after receiving advance parole, the travel will not interrupt your continuous residence. However, if you engage in unauthorized travel, the travel may 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 and then enter the United States without inspection, USCIS may terminate your DACA after issuing a Notice of Intent to Terminate with an opportunity to respond. DACA recipients who depart the United States without first obtaining an advance parole document run a significant risk of being unable to reenter the United States; obtaining an advance parole document prior to departure is strongly encouraged to reduce the risk of being unable to return and resume DACA.
For detailed information see the Travel section of the Frequently Asked Questions.
You will not be considered for DACA if you have been convicted of:
- A felony offense;
- A significant misdemeanor offense (as described at 8 CFR 236.22(b)(6)); or
- 3 or more other misdemeanor offenses not occurring on the same date and not arising out of the same act, omission, or scheme of misconduct.
- You are otherwise deemed to pose a threat to national security or public safety.
What is the difference between a “significant misdemeanor” (a misdemeanor as described at 8 CFR 236.22(b)(6)), a “non-significant misdemeanor” (other misdemeanor), and a “felony”?
|Significant Misdemeanor (a misdemeanor as described at 8 CFR 236.22(b)(6))
|Non-significant Misdemeanor (an “other misdemeanor” referenced at 8 CFR 236.22(b)(6))
A felony is a federal, state, or local criminal offense punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding 1 year.A single conviction for a felony offense is disqualifying for purposes of DACA.
A significant misdemeanor (that is, a misdemeanor as described at 8 CFR 236.22(b)(6)) is a misdemeanor as defined by federal law (specifically, a misdemeanor for which the maximum term of imprisonment authorized is 1 year or less but greater than 5 days) and:
A single conviction for a misdemeanor offense as described at 8 CFR 236.22(b)(6) is disqualifying for purposes of DACA.
A crime is considered a non-significant misdemeanor (referred to as “other misdemeanor” at 8 CFR 236.22(b)(6)) as defined by federal law (specifically, a misdemeanor for which the maximum term of imprisonment authorized is 1 year or less but greater than 5 days) and:
Three or more convictions of “other misdemeanors” not occurring on the same date and not arising out of the same act, omission, or scheme of misconduct are disqualifying for purposes of DACA.
A minor traffic offense is not considered a misdemeanor for purposes of 8 CFR 236.22(b)(6) and is not per se disqualifying for DACA purposes. DHS considers such offenses in the totality of circumstances to determine if a requestor merits a favorable exercise of prosecutorial discretion. However, driving under the influence is a disqualifying misdemeanor as described at 8 CFR 236.22(b)(6) regardless of the sentence imposed. You can find detailed information in the Criminal Convictions section of the Frequent Asked Questions.
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.
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 5 years, or both, under 18 U.S.C. Section 1001. In addition, you may be placed into removal proceedings, face severe penalties provided by law, and be subject to criminal prosecution.