Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)

On June 15, 2012, the Obama Administration announced the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. Deferred action means that, even though the individual is undocumented and subject to deportation, the government agrees to “defer” any actions to remove them. For those who are granted DACA, they receive a two year deferral of deportation, and are able to apply for work authorization, a social security number, and in most states, a driver's license. In essence, even though deferred action does not provide a pathway to getting lawful permanent resident status (a green card) or citizenship, it allows undocumented immigrants to stay and work in the U.S.

On November 20, 2014, President Obama announced an expansion of the DACA program, which is not yet in effect. Previously, to be eligible for DACA, a person must have been born after June 15, 1981 and have lived in the United States since June 15, 2007. Under the new expansion, more people can qualify. Although applicants must have arrived in the United States before they were sixteen years old, there is no upper age cap. In addition, the new residency requirement is to have lived in the United States since January 1, 2010. Finally, DACA will be valid for three years, instead of two. Until these changes take effect, those eligible for the original version of the DACA program can continue to apply for DACA or renew their applications.

For more information about the DACA program and to access the application forms, go to


DACA Renewal and Advance Parole Practice Advisory - English & Spanish

Updated April 2016! This document describes how what steps a DACA recipient who travels on advance parole must take to ensure that they are able to successfully renew their DACA.

Screening for Immigration Relief: Client Intake Form and Notes

This resources is a comprehensive client intake form meant to assist practitioners in screening for immigration relief options.  Accompanying the intake form are notes to assist the practitioners in spotting issues and relief options.

From Advance Parole to a Green Card for DACA Recipients

This advisory explains how some DACA recipients may be eligible to adjust their status to permanent residents after travellng outside the United States on advance parole. We explain what is required for advance parole, what is required for adjustment of status, and how those two are related for certain DACA recipients who entered the United States without inspection. Although the advisory is focused on DACA, most of the analysis will also apply to TPS holders.

Travel Abroad (Advance Parole) May Permit DACA Recipient to Get Green Card in U.S. Based on Certain Petitions

This document describes how a person with DACA who travels outside the U.S. with Advance Parole may be able to apply for a green card in the U.S. based on an immediate relative visa petition.

Steps to Take if Your DACA Renewal Is Delayed

This guide outlines steps DACA renewal applicants can take if their renewal is delayed.

Change of Address for DACA Recipients / Cambio de dirección de beneficiarios de acción diferida

This new resource provides step by step instructions on how to notify USCIS that your address has changed.  This is important so that receipt notices, reminders, and other documents are sent to the correct address.  (English and Spanish)

Travel for DACA Applicants (Advance Parole)

This guide explains when DACA recipients may be eligible to apply to travel outside the United States, and what risks are involved, and how to prepare.

DACA Annotated Form

USCIS Form I-821D with annotations.

DACA Form Instructions

These are step-by-step instructions on how to complete the form.

Background Check Advisory (English & Spanish)

This document outlines how to check if you have a criminal record and complete a background check. Available in English and Spanish.

Collecting Evidence for DACA

This is a checklist to help you gather all necessary documentation to apply for DACA.

DACA Application Sample Cover Letter

This is a sample cover letter that can be used when submitting a DACA application. This is a sample cover letter that can be used when submitting a DACA application.

Screening Form for DACA Applicants

This form screens for DACA eligibility and other immigration relief.  It can be used by non-immigration attorney volunteers because it highlights the areas that need to be referred to an experienced immigration attorney or BIA-accredited representative.

Immigration Options for Undocumented Immigrant Children

A collection of resources and fact sheets on SIJS, VAWA, U visa, T visa, Asylum, Family visas, TPS and DACA.

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Fact Sheet

Deferred Action is a form of prosecutorial discretion that provides a work permit and relief from removal for two years to certain eligible undocumented youth. This fact sheet outlines the benefits of DACA, who is eligible and the requirements.

What Documents Will I Need to Apply for DACA?

This resource describes all of the documents that will help in proving the requirements and where to obtain them. Special thanks to our Spring 2013 law students, Andrew Briggs and Maria  Dominguez, for their efforts in helping create this resource.

DACA and Juvenile Delinquency Adjudications & Records: FAQs

In this practice advisory we answer common questions on how to tackle disclosure of juvenile adjudications and dissemination of court records for individuals interested in applying for DACA.  Also included are three sample DACA request packets, which show how to carefully disclose juvenile adjudications and comply with state confidentiality laws.

How Will DACA Help Me?

Outlines all of the benefits that come with obtaining DACA approval. Special thanks to our Spring 2013 law students, Andrew Briggs and Maria  Dominguez, for their efforts in helping to create this resource.

DACA Criminal Bars Chart

This one-page chart provides a brief overview of how a criminal history can affect an individual’s application for Deferred Action. The chart is intended as a general reference and corresponds with the longer DACA Criminal Bar FAQ.

Understanding the Criminal Bars to the Deferred Action Policy

In addition to a number of other requirements, to qualify for deferred action a person must not be convicted of a felony, a significant misdemeanor, or multiple misdemeanors, and not pose a threat to public safety or national security.