Important Updates on Deferred Action for DREAMers
In recent publications and a teleconference, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) provided more information on the deferred action program for DREAMers.
Here’s what you should know:
When can I apply?
- At this time, you still cannot apply for deferred action.
- On Wednesday, August 15, 2012, USCIS expects to make the deferred action application form (likely Form I-821D) available and to begin accepting applications by mail.
How will I apply?
- You will complete the deferred action application form (likely Form I-821D) and, if you chose, the employment authorization form (Form I-765).
- You will include documentation that demonstrates:
- Your age.
- That you came to the US when you were under the age of 16.
- That you have continuously resided in the US for the last 5 years (since June 15, 2007):
- Please note: brief, casual, and innocent absences from the US will not interrupt your continuous residence.
- That you were in the US on June 15, 2012.
- That you are currently attending school, have graduated from high school, have obtained your GED, or have been honorably discharged from the US Armed Forces or Coast Guard.
- Please note: to be considered “currently in school” you must be enrolled in school on the date you mail your deferred action application.
- Please note: if you meet all other requirements, you can apply for Deferred Action once you obtain your GED.
- All deferred action applicants will mail their applications to one USCIS lockbox. USCIS will then forward the applications to one of four USCIS Service Centers for processing.
- All deferred action applicants will be required to attend a biometrics appointment at their local USCIS office for a photograph and fingerprinting.
What is the total government fee for my application?
- If you are filing for deferred action only, there is an $85 biometrics government fee.
- If you are filing for deferred action and employment authorization, there is a $380 government fee and an $85 biometrics government fee.
I don’t have a document that demonstrates I was in the US on June 15, 2012. What should I do?
- Please obtain documentation that demonstrates your presence in the US shortly before and shortly after June 15, 2012.
I’ve had what I believe are minor issues in the past with the police. Those issues won’t affect my deferred action application, right?
- Do not assume that your criminal history will not affect your deferred action application. Please be honest with an experienced immigration attorney about your full and complete criminal history. Your criminal history could make you ineligible for deferred action and, if serious enough, could even draw the attention of Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
- Do not try to hide your criminal history. You will be required to attend a biometrics appointment where USCIS will take your photograph and fingerprints for a background check. USCIS will check your biographic and biometric information against a variety of databases maintained by DHS and other federal government agencies.
How long will I have to wait for my deferred action approval and/or my employment authorization card?
- USCIS should later post a processing time for the applications; at this time, the processing time is unknown.
Can I travel outside of the US on deferred action status?
- Persons granted deferred action will be eligible to apply for a travel document (Form I-131, $360 government fee). You must wait until you are granted deferred action to apply for a travel document. USCIS will grant you a travel document for travel only related to humanitarian, educational, and employment purposes.
- Do not travel outside of the US after August 15, 2012 without a travel document. If you travel outside of the US after August 15, 2012 without a travel document, you will not be eligible for deferred action.
If I’m granted deferred action for the two-year period, can I later extend my deferred action status?
- Yes. Although you must be younger than 31 years old on June 15, 2012 to initially apply for deferred action, you can request an extension even if you are later 31 years old or older
Does deferred action forgive my prior unlawful status?
- No. Your prior unlawful status could cause problems if you seek to later change status despite your having received deferred action status.
- However, while you are in deferred action status, you will not accrue unlawful presence during that period.
My parent/brother/sister (etc.) filed a petition for me. Can I still apply for deferred action?
- As long as you were not in a lawful status on June 15, 2012 and you are not currently in a lawful status, you can apply for deferred action.
Why is partnering with an experienced immigration attorney important in preparing my deferred action application?
- An immigration attorney will evaluate your full and complete history and your current situation in order to discover all possible issues and assist you in making a fully informed decision in applying for deferred action.
- There is always misinformation in communities concerning immigration law. Only an immigration attorney knows the law.
- An immigration attorney will know how best to present your case to obtain a favorable outcome.
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