The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) is a federal immigration policy created through an executive order during the Obama administration in July 2012. DACA provides relief to individuals who were brought into the United States as children without inspection, from deportation. They must meet several key criteria and cannot be a threat to national security or public safety.

The individuals who can show that they meet these criteria will be afforded deferred action protection and work authorization for two years, subject to renewal.

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In July 2021 a federal court in Texas ruled that the DACA program is illegal, and issued a permanent injunction that prevented the government from administering the program. However, the court allowed the individuals who were DACA recipients at the time of the injunction continued protection under the deferred action program. Because of the court order, USCIS is currently taking DACA applications for both the initial and renewal requests, but only processing the renewal applications.

The DACA program is currently tied up in court and its future is uncertain. If you believe that you qualify for the program and would like to apply for DACA for the first time, please consult with an immigration attorney, as there may be both risks and benefits to doing so.

At the time this article is written, if you are a current DACA recipient, USCIS is still accepting and processing DACA renewal applications and advance parole applications. However, they are not adjudicating initial DACA applications, but are still accepting them.

What are the requirements to file an initial DACA application?

Please note that at the time this article is written, the DACA program is tied up in court and its future is uncertain. The USCIS is still accepting both the initial and renewal applications, however, only processing renewal applications.

You may still apply for the initial DACA applications, however, the USCIS will just be “sitting” on your application at this time. It’s not certain how they will handle the application fee, which you may lose if the program is totally scrapped in the future.

If you would like to file an initial requirements DACA application, here are the current requirements:

  • You were under the age of 31 as of June 15th, 2012, and physically present in the United States on this date,
  • You had no lawful status on June 15th, 2012,
  • You came to the United States before your 16th birthday,
  • You continuously resided in the United States since June 15th, 2007,
  • You are currently in school, have graduated high school, obtained a GED, or honorably discharged from the Coast Guard or armed forces of the United States,
  • You have not been convicted of a felony, significant misdemeanor, or three or more misdemeanors, and otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety.

How to file an initial DACA application?

If you satisfy the criteria to qualify for the DACA program, you may being the initial application process. To file for an initial DACA application you should:

Gather all documents: You need to conduct some research and ensure that you have all the documents that may help you prove certain requirements under the program. For example, it’s important to have documentation showing that you came into the country before your 16th birthday, continuously resided in the country since June 15th, 2007, are currently in or graduated high school, and have the disposition of any criminal charges or convictions. Such documents may include school records, rental agreements, utility bills, birth certificates, hospital records, court records, etc.

Complete the application: You must correctly and completely fill out Forms I-821D (Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals), I-765 (Application for Employment Authorization), and I-765WS (Worksheet) online or via mail, make sure to include the application fee of $495 and all required documents.

File the application: You may file an initial DACA application via mail or by creating an account on the USCIS website. If you decide to submit a paper-based application make sure to complete and submit all three forms, I-821D, I-765, and I-765WS. The I-765WS is a worksheet that an applicant must submit to prove to the government that he or she qualifies to receive a work permit. With a work permit, the DACA recipient is authorized to lawfully work in the United States and thus can receive a social security number and a social security card.

What is the current processing time for DACA initial application?

Unfortunately, at the time this article is written, the USCIS is not processing any initial DACA applications. They are accepting both initial and renewal applications, but are only adjudicating the renewal applications. At the moment, the DACA program is tied up in court, and therefore the future of the program is uncertain.

OKC Immigration Lawyer: Oklahoma DACA Attorney

If you need help with your DACA renewal or would like to consult with an attorney about your immigration case, please contact Niroula Law. Vivid Niroula is an immigration attorney based in Oklahoma City who has a solid understating of U.S. immigration laws. He provides client-focused services, responds quickly, and charges competitive fees. Where you need help with your DACA case, green card, family visa petition, or any other immigration matter, call Niroula Law at (405) 456-9250 or reach out to us by filling out the Contact Us Form.