Our immigration lawyers have successfully processed hundreds of DACA cases including very difficult and challenging cases. We are also currently processing a lot of DACA renewal cases. Furthermore, our immigration lawyers successfully obtained a travel authorization for many of our clients. If you think that you meet the following requirements, please call our immigration lawyers office.
If you came to the U.S. as a child, currently do not have a legal status, and meet certain requirements, then you can request the government to defer deportation. If your request is approved, you will be protected from deportation for 2 years; and every 2 years, you can request an extension.
What is the USCIS filing fee?
- $465 (including both deferred action and work permit requests).
Can I pay additional fees and expedite my case?
- No. There is no expedited processing for deferred action.
If I meet all the requirements, will deferred action be granted automatically?
- Although there is a good chance if you meet all the requirements, deferred action will not be “automatically” granted; USCIS says they will review each request on a case-by-case basis.
If deferred action is granted, does that mean I have a legal status? Or can I apply for a legal status (green card or citizenship)?
- No. Deferred action means the government will not pursue deportation for the specified time, but that does not mean you have a legal status or you can apply for a legal status.
- Giving you a legal status is what the DREAM Act is trying to achieve; we hope the Congress will pass the DREAM Act and make it a law in the near future.
Considering deferred action does not give me any legal status, what can I do with it? Can I work? Can I travel abroad? Can I get a driver’s license?
- The most significant aspect is that you won’t have to worry about being deported for the specified time.
- Work permit: When you request deferred action, you can request a work permit at the same time. Once you receive a work permit, you can apply for a SSN at a social security office.
- Travel permit: You can request a travel permit only after deferred action is granted.
(a) If you were/are in removal proceedings, and your Deferred Action gets approved, and you want to travel abroad: First, you have to separately request a travel document ("advance parole"). Second, once you receive advance parole, before you leave the U.S., you should seek to reopen your case with EOIR and obtain administrative closure or termination of your removal proceedings. You should not leave the U.S. until after EOIR has administratively closed or terminated your removal proceedings. Otherwise, your departure may result in your being considered deported or removed, with potentially serious immigration consequences. For questions, please contact the ICE Office at 1-888-351-4024 (staffed 9 a.m. – 5 p.m., Monday – Friday) or EROPublicAdvocate@ice.dhs.gov.)
- Driver’s license: It is up to each state’s authority (e.g., Texas DPS) whether to issue a driver’s license based on deferred action, but we expect many states will decide to do so. Texas DPS has announced they will (http://thescoopblog.dallasnews.com/2012/08/texas-drivers-licenses-will-be-available-to-immigrants-qualifying-for-work-permits.html).
Considering deferred action does not give me any legal status, will my “unlawful presence” still be adding up?
- You do not accrue unlawful presence until you reach 18.
- While your deferred action request is pending:
(a) If you are 18 or older at the time of request: You will continue to accrue unlawful presence while your request is pending.
(b) If you are under 18 at the time of request but turn 18 while your request is pending: You will not accrue unlawful presence while your request is pending.
- If deferred action is granted:
(a) You will not accrue unlawful presence for the specified time.
(b) However, your previous unlawful presence will not be wiped out.
Can I request deferred action even though I am or was in removal proceedings?
- Yes. As long as you meet all the requirements, you can request deferred action, even if:
(a) You have never been in removal proceedings;
(b) You were in removal proceedings but they were terminated;
(c) You were in removal proceedings but you accepted or declined an offer of administrative closure;
(d) You are currently in removal proceedings;
(e) You have a final removal order; or
(f) You have a voluntary departure order.
- If you are not in immigration detention, submit your request to USCIS.
- If you are in immigration detention, submit your request to ICE—contact your detention officer or ICE at 1-888-351-4024 or EROPublicAdvocate@ice.dhs.gov, or Law Enforcement Support Center at 1-855-448-6903.
If I meet all the requirements, will my family members be considered for deferred action too?
- No. They will not be considered for deferred action just because they are family members; they will have to meet all the requirements on their own.
Can the government use my information that I provide and put me in removal proceedings?
- USCIS says your information included in the request “is protected from disclosure to ICE and CBP for the purpose of immigration enforcement proceedings,” unless your case involves criminal history, fraud, threat to national security or public safety, or other exceptional circumstances.
- But USCIS also adds that this policy “may be modified, superseded, or rescinded at any time without notice.”
Can the government use my employment information against my employer?
- Such information will not be shared with ICE for civil immigration enforcement purposes pursuant to INA section 274A, unless there is evidence of egregious violations of criminal statutes or widespread abuses.
If USCIS denies my request for deferred action, can I appeal?
- No. You cannot appeal, and you cannot file a motion to reopen/reconsider.
What are the requirements for requesting deferred action?
1. You were under 31 as of 06-15-2012.
(a) Additional requirement: If you have never been in removal proceedings, or you were in removal proceedings but they were terminated, then you must be 15 or older at the time of requesting deferred action.
2. You came to the U.S. before your 16th birthday.
(a) To prove this, collect U.S. documents issued before you turned 16: entry stamp on passport, I-94, school records, medical records, immigration records, transportation tickets, religious records (such as baptism certificate), etc.
3. You have been continuously residing in the U.S. since 06-15-2007 up to the time of requesting deferred action.
(a) To prove this, collect U.S. documents ranging from prior to 06-15-2007 until present time: school records, medical records, employment records, military records, immigration records, driver’s license, social security card, tax returns, W-2s, IRS records, utility bills, bank accounts, etc.
(b) If your documentation has a gap during this 5-year period: Affidavits may be submitted to explain such gap. You must submit 2 or more affidavits, sworn to or affirmed by people other than yourself, who have direct personal knowledge of the events and circumstances. But affidavits can only be used to explain gaps; they cannot be used as evidence that you meet the entire 5-year continuous residence requirement.
(c) A BRIEF, CASUAL, AND INNOCENT travel outside the U.S. in the past is ok. Of course, this does not include leaving the U.S. pursuant to a deportation or voluntary departure.
(d) Starting 08-15-2012, you cannot travel outside the U.S. until you are granted deferred action AND a travel permit.
4. You were physically present in the U.S. on 06-15-2012.
(a) To prove this, collect U.S. documents dated on or near 06-15-2012: school records, medical records, employment records, military records, immigration records, driver’s license, social security card, tax returns, W-2s, IRS records, utility bills, bank accounts, etc.
5. You entered the U.S. without inspection before 06-15-2012, or your legal status expired as of 06-15-2012.
(a) If you were in a legal status or TPS on 06-15-2012, you are not eligible for deferred action.
6. At the time of requesting deferred action, you are in school, or graduated from high school, or have a GED, or have been honorably discharged from the U.S. military or Coast Guard.
(a) To prove this, collect:
i. School enrollment verification and transcripts, if you are currently in school;
ii. High school diploma, certificate of completion, or GED certificate; or
iii. Certification that you have been honorably discharged from the U.S. military or Coast Guard.
(b) “School” includes education, literacy, or career/vocational training programs, IF:
i. It is designed to lead to placement in postsecondary education, job training, or employment (for example, an ESL program that is a prerequisite for such placement);
ii. You are currently working towards such placement; and
iii. It is funded in whole or in part by federal or state grants, or it is administered by providers of demonstrated effectiveness (such as institutions of higher education including community colleges)
(c) “School” also includes education programs assisting students to obtain a high school diploma, certificate of completion, or GED, IF:
i. It is funded in whole or in part by federal or state grants, or it is administered by providers of demonstrated effectiveness (such as institutions of higher education including community colleges)
7. You have not been convicted of a felony, or a significant misdemeanor, or 3 or more non-significant misdemeanors.
(a) What constitutes a “felony” for deferred action purposes?:
i. Criminal offense punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year. (Please note that USCIS will look at the possible imprisonment term under the criminal statute, not what you actually received.)
(b) What constitutes a “significant misdemeanor” for deferred action purposes?:
i. The following criminal offenses, if they are punishable by imprisonment for a term greater than five days but one year or less: domestic violence, sexual abuse or exploitation, burglary, unlawful possession or use of a firearm, drug distribution or trafficking, DUI.
ii. Criminal offenses (a) that are punishable by imprisonment for a term greater than five days but one year or less; AND (b) for which you were sentenced to time in custody of more than 90 days (but suspended sentence is excluded).
(c) What constitutes a “non-significant misdemeanor” for deferred action purposes?:
i. Criminal offenses (a) that are punishable by imprisonment for a term greater than five days but one year or less; AND (b) that do not fall under any “significant misdemeanor” category described above.
(d) What about a minor traffic offense, such as driving without a license?:
i. A minor traffic offense by itself is not a misdemeanor for deferred action purposes.
ii. However, USCIS will look at your entire offense history and consider the totality of the circumstances.
(e) What about immigration-related offenses characterized as felonies or misdemeanors by state immigration laws?:
i. They will not be treated as felonies or misdemeanors for deferred action purposes.
(f) What about expunged or juvenile convictions?:
i, USCIS will review them on a case-by-case basis.
ii. Please note that if you were a juvenile but were tried and convicted as an adult, you will be treated as an adult for deferred action purposes.
For more information, please contact our office: 972-243-7140 (Dallas) or 512-230-2416 (Austin/Killeen).