For basic information about the application process, including whether or not you may be eligible, please sign up for updates on www.DreamRelief.org. On August 15, ICIRR is organizing a large application workshop at Navy Pier. We will also be working with universities and other allies on future workshops.
The application should also be online on the US Citizenship and Immigration Services website, www.uscis.gov. We do not know yet whether you will be able to submit your application online.
In certain cases, an applicant should consult with a lawyer or authorized non-profit (“BIA-recognized”) agency before applying. These circumstances include
- If you have ever been stopped by police or arrested for, charged with, or convicted of any crime (including traffic offenses)
- If you have ever been caught or questioned by immigration authorities
- If you have had any other interaction with immigration authorities, including applying for any immigration benefit or being included in someone else’s application
- If you have ever left the US since your first arrival
- If you have ever voted or falsely claimed US citizenship.
- If none of these circumstances apply to you, you will likely be able to submit your application without further legal help.
There should not be a deadline for applying.
Deferred action is a discretionary determination to defer removal action of an individual as an act of prosecutorial discretion. Deferred action does not confer lawful status upon an individual. In addition, although an individual whose case is deferred will not be considered to be accruing unlawful presence in the United States during the period deferred action is in effect, deferred action does not excuse individuals of any previous or subsequent periods of unlawful presence.
Under existing regulations, an individual whose case has been deferred is eligible to receive employment authorization for the period of deferred action, provided he or she can demonstrate “an economic necessity for employment.” DHS can terminate or renew deferred action at any time at the agency’s discretion.
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.
Individuals who can demonstrate through verifiable documentation that they meet these guidelines will be considered for deferred action. Determinations will be made on a case-by-case basis under the guidelines set forth in the Secretary of Homeland Security’s memorandum.
Yes. Pursuant to existing regulations, if your case is deferred, you may obtain employment authorization from USCIS provided you can demonstrate an economic necessity for employment.
This process is open to any individual who can demonstrate he or she meets the guidelines for consideration, including those who have never been in removal proceedings as well as those in removal proceedings, with a final order, or with a voluntary departure order (as long as they are not in immigration detention). If you are not in immigration detention and want to affirmatively request consideration of deferred action for childhood arrivals, you must submit your request to USCIS – not ICE – pursuant to the procedures outlined below.
If you are currently in immigration detention and believe you meet the guidelines you should not request consideration of deferred action from USCIS but should identify yourself to your detention officer or contact the ICE Office of the Public Advocate through the Office’s hotline at 1-888-351-4024 (staffed 9 a.m. – 5 p.m., Monday – Friday) or by email at EROPublicAdvocate@ice.dhs.gov.
You will continue to accrue unlawful presence while the request for consideration of deferred action for childhood arrivals is pending, unless you are under 18 years old at the time of the request. If you are under 18 years old at the time you submit your request but turn 18 while your request is pending with USCIS, you will not accrue unlawful presence while the request pending. If your case is deferred, you will not accrue unlawful presence during the period of deferred action. Having action deferred on your case will not excuse previously accrued unlawful presence.
No. Although action on your case has been deferred and you do not accrue unlawful presence during the period of deferred action, deferred action does not confer any lawful status.
There is a significant difference between “unlawful presence” and “unlawful status.” Unlawful presence refers to a period an individual is present in the United States (1) without being admitted or paroled or (2) after the expiration of a period of stay authorized by the Department of Homeland Security (such as after the period of stay authorized by a visa has expired). Unlawful presence is relevant only with respect to determining whether the inadmissibility bars for unlawful presence, set forth in the Immigration and Nationality Act at Section 212(a)(9), apply to an individual if he or she departs the United States and subsequently seeks to re-enter. (These unlawful presence bars are commonly known as the 3- and 10-Year Bars.)
The fact that you are not accruing unlawful presence does not change whether you are in lawful status while you remain in the United States. Because you lack lawful status at the time DHS defers action in your case you remain subject to all legal restrictions and prohibitions on individuals in unlawful status.
No. Deferred action is a form of prosecutorial discretion that does not confer lawful permanent resident status or a path to citizenship. Only the Congress, acting through its legislative authority, can confer these rights.
No. The new process is open only to those who satisfy the guidelines. As such, immediate relatives, including dependents of individuals whose cases are deferred pursuant to the consideration of deferred action for childhood arrivals process, may not be considered for deferred action as part of this process unless they independently satisfy the guidelines.
This process is only for individuals who meet the specific guidelines announced by the Secretary. Other individuals may, on a case-by-case basis, request deferred action from USCIS or ICE in certain circumstances, consistent with longstanding practice.
Information provided in this request is protected from disclosure to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) for the purpose of immigration enforcement proceedings unless the requestor meets the criteria for the issuance of a Notice To Appear or a referral to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement under the criteria set forth in USCIS’s Notice to Appear guidance (www.uscis.gov/NTA). Individuals whose cases are deferred pursuant to the consideration of deferred action for childhood arrivals process will not be referred to ICE. The information may be shared with national security and law enforcement agencies, including ICE and CBP, for purposes other than removal, including for assistance in the consideration of deferred action for childhood arrivals, to identify or prevent fraudulent claims, for national security purposes, or for the investigation or prosecution of a criminal offense. The above information sharing policy covers family members and guardians, in addition to the requestor.
This policy, which may be modified, superseded, or rescinded at any time without notice, is not intended to, does not, and may not be relied upon to create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law by any party in any administrative, civil, or criminal matter.
Yes. The Administration has consistently pressed for passage of comprehensive immigration reform, including the DREAM Act, because the President believes these steps are critical to building a 21st century immigration system that meets our nation’s economic and security needs.
Yes. The Secretary’s June 15th memorandum allowing certain people to request consideration for deferred action is the most recent in a series of steps that DHS has taken to focus its enforcement resources on the removal of individuals who pose a danger to national security or a risk to public safety. Deferred action does not provide lawful status or a pathway to citizenship. As the President has stated, individuals who would qualify for the DREAM Act deserve certainty about their status. Only the Congress, acting through its legislative authority, can confer the certainty that comes with a pathway to permanent lawful status.
A brief, casual, and innocent absence from the United States will not interrupt your continuous residence. If you were absent from the United States for any period of time, your absence will be considered brief, casual, and innocent, if it was before August 15, 2012, and:
- The absence was short and reasonably calculated to accomplish the purpose for the absence;
- The absence was not because of an order of exclusion, deportation, or removal;
- The absence was not because of an order of voluntary departure, or an administrative grant of voluntary departure before you were placed in exclusion, deportation, or removal proceedings; and
- The purpose of the absence and/or your actions while outside the United States were not contrary to law.
. After August 15, 2012, if you travel outside of the United States, you will not be considered for deferred action under this process. If USCIS defers action in your case, you will be permitted to travel outside of the United States only if you apply for and receive advance parole from USCIS.
Any travel outside of the United States that occurred before August 15, 2012, will be assessed by USCIS to determine whether the travel qualifies as brief, casual and innocent (see above).
Note: If you are in unlawful status and/or are currently in removal proceedings, and you leave the United States without a grant of advance parole, you will be deemed to have removed yourself and will be subject to any applicable grounds of inadmissibility if you seek to return.
||Type of Travel
||Does it Affect Continuous Residence?
|Before August 15, 2012
||brief casual innocent
|Before August 15, 2012
- For an extended time
Because of an order of exclusion, deportation, or removal
- To participate in criminal activity
|After August 15, 2012 and before you have requested deferred action
|After August 15, 2012 and after you have requested deferred action
||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..
No. 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, you will not be considered for deferred action under the new process except where DHS determines there are exceptional circumstances.
A felony is a federal, state, or local criminal offense punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year.
Expunged convictions and juvenile convictions will not automatically disqualify you. Your request will be assessed on a case-by-case basis to determine whether, under the particular circumstances, a favorable exercise of prosecutorial discretion is warranted. If you were a juvenile, but tried and convicted as an adult, you will be treated as an adult for purposes of the deferred action for childhood arrivals process.
No. If you are currently in immigration detention, you may not request consideration of deferred action for childhood arrivals from USCIS. If you think you may meet the guidelines of this process, you should identify yourself to your detention officer or contact the ICE Office of the Public Advocate so that ICE may review your case. The ICE Office of the Public Advocate can be reached through the Office’s hotline at 1-888-351-4024 (staffed 9 a.mm – 5 p.m., Monday – Friday) or by email at EROPublicAdvocate@ice.dhs.gov
A lawyer is not required, but we recommend that you consult with a lawyer, especially if there are possible complications in the case.
Please visit dreamrelief.org for information on information sessions. In addition, the National Immigrant Justice, offers free legal clinics where you can obtain a lawyer to represent you at no cost. Visit immigrantjustice.org to register for the next free clinic. You can also find other legal resources at either of those websites.
We recommend that you approximate the dates as close as you can.
For more specific information, you should contact an attorney or an organization that is recognized from the Board of Immigration Appeals and is authorized to provide legal advice. Reviewing an application and advising you regarding your forms is legal advice. For resources in your area visit immigrantjustice.org/dreamers or dreamrelief.org.
There are some more affordable legal resources in your area. However, if you entered with a visa that has expired, your current immigration status can be listed as “none” or “deferred action applicant.”