Details on Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals

DREAM Act (Deferred Action), Immigration Services, Immigration, Deportation


CONFIRMED by stakeholder meeting with USCIS. The new form for Deferred Action (Dream Act) is I-821-D and I-765 (work permit application) and I-765 worksheet (specifically for deferred actin youth).

USCIS has developed a rigorous review process for deferred action requests under guidelines issued by Secretary Napolitano,” said USCIS Director Alejandro Mayorkas. “Childhood arrivals who meet the guidelines and whose cases are deferred will now be able to live without fear of removal, and be able to more fully contribute their talents to our great nation.

Deferred action is a discretionary determination to defer removal action of an individual as an act of prosecutorial discretion. USCIS will review requests and make decisions on a case-by-case basis.  While it does not provide lawful status or a pathway to permanent residence or citizenship, individuals whose cases are deferred as part of this process will not be removed from the United States for a two-year period, subject to renewal, and may also apply for employment authorization.

USCIS is committed to ensuring that this new process works within the agency’s mission to administer our nation’s immigration benefits, provide high quality service to the public, and safeguard the integrity of the immigration system.

Source: USCIS 

On June 15, 2012, DHS announced that certain young people who entered the U.S. before age 16 will no longer be removed from the United States. Qualified individuals will be granted “Deferred Action” and be eligible for a work permit. On August 3, 2012, USCIS issued revised FAQs further detailing the deferred action eligibility criteria.

Here are the list of documents that you will need to apply for deferred action:

  • Documents, such as a birth certificate or passport, showing age on June 15, 2012
  • Financial records, medical records, school records, employment records, and military records that demonstrate an individual came to the U.S. before the age of 16, resided in the U.S. since June 15, 2007 up to the present time and was physically present in the U.S. on June 15, 2012
  • School records, including diplomas, GED certificates, report cards, school transcripts and other evidence of enrollment, or documentation as an honorably discharged veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces or Coast Guard.

Requests for deferred action will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis, and not every young immigrant will qualify. Individuals who are found to be ineligible due to criminal history, fraud in the application, or because they represent a danger to the community may be subject to removal or other immigration enforcement action. DHS considers convictions to be “significant misdemeanors,”including driving under the influence (DUI), regardless of any sentence imposed. If you have ever been arrested by the police, talk to a qualified immigration attorney before applying for deferred action.

Who will be eligible for deferred action under the initiative?
Immigrants may apply for deferred action if they have no valid immigration status; entered the United States before age 16; were 30 or younger as of June 15, 2012; have lived continuously in the United States since June 15, 2007; have not been convicted of specified criminal offenses (see more details below) or otherwise pose a threat to public safety; and are in school on the date the application is filed, have graduated from high school or earned a GED, or served in the military. Applications will only be considered for immigrants who are currently 15 or older, unless they are currently in removal proceedings or have a final order of removal or voluntary departure.

How much will the application cost?
There will be no fee associated with the deferred action application itself. However, all applicants will have to pay an $85 biometrics fee associated with a background check. In addition, unless falling under certain exemptions for impoverished individuals, recipients of deferred action who want a work permit will have to pay the standard $380 fee to obtain an Employment Authorization Document (EAD). More information on fee exemptions will be made available on August 15.

What evidence must be submitted with the application?
Among other evidence, applicants may submit financial, medical, school, employment, or military records to demonstrate their eligibility. School records include, but are not limited to, GED certificates, report cards, and school transcripts. Affidavits will generally not be sufficient to demonstrate eligibility, except for the requirement that the applicant has been continually present in the United States since June 15, 2007. Additional information will be made available on August 15.

Will information in the application be kept confidential?
According to DHS, any information provided in the application, including information relating to applicants’ family members or legal guardians, will not be used for immigration enforcement proceedings, unless the applicant meets the existing criteria for referral to ICE or issuance of a Notice to Appear (NTA) in immigration court.

Will applicants who are denied deferred action be placed in removal proceedings?
According to DHS, the administration will follow existing policies regarding the initiation of removal proceedings for immigrants who are denied benefits for which they affirmatively applied. Under a November 2011 memo, such immigrants will only be placed in removal proceedings if they engaged in fraud during the application process; have been convicted of an offense making them removable from the United States, or are under investigation or have been arrested for an “egregious public safety” criminal offense; or pose a threat to national security.

What criminal convictions will make applicants ineligible for deferred action?
Applicants will not be eligible for deferred action if they have been convicted of (1) a felony, defined as any crime punishable by more than one year in prison, (2) a “significant” misdemeanor (defined below), or (3) three or more other misdemeanors for which they were sentenced to more than five days in jail, not including minor traffic offenses. Convictions for immigration-related offenses classified as felonies or misdemeanors by state laws (e.g. Arizona SB 1070) will not be considered.

What is a “significant” misdemeanor?
DHS will deem “significant” any misdemeanor, regardless of the sentence imposed, involving burglary, domestic violence, sexual abuse or exploitation, unlawful possession of firearms, driving under the influence, or drug distribution or trafficking. In addition, DHS will deem significant any other misdemeanor for which an applicant was sentenced to more than 90 days in jail, not including suspended sentences and time held pursuant to an immigration detainer.

Will deferred action recipients be permitted to travel outside the country?
Yes, but only if they first apply for and receive a special travel document known as “advance parole.” Generally, advance parole is only granted for travel relating to humanitarian, educational, or employment purposes. By departing the country, however, immigrants who were previously unlawfully present in the United States for more than six months after their eighteenth birthday could face legal obstacles re-entering the country or applying for a green card in the future.

Related reading from previous blog posts:
2012-07-19 Update on Dream Act (Deferred Action Policy)
Deferred Action Process for Young Children to Stay in United States

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)
USCIS – U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services
Immigration Impact blog
USCIS National Customer Service Center at 1-800-375-5283

Do you need assistance with Deferred Action?

FREE immigration consultation and advice within 24 hours guaranteed

JCS Immigration office is located at
2975 Wilshire Blvd. Suite 352 in Los Angeles, California 90010
Office hours are Monday to Saturday from 9:00AM to 9:00PM



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