The DACA program is not accepting new applicants. DACA renewals are still being granted and can be done online.
What is DACA?
DACA stands for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. It is a program that gives protection to certain people who entered the U.S. without authorization as children. It allows them to apply for a driver’s license, social security number, and work permit. It also offers deportation protection.
What is the current status of DACA?
DHS announced a final rule to continue the DACA program. It will go into effect on October 31, 2022. This rule means there will be no changes for current DACA recipients and their ability to renew. New applicants will still not be able to enter the DACA program because of the July 2021 court ruling.
- If you were granted DACA before the court decision on July 16, 2021, you will continue to have DACA.
- If you currently have DACA, you can renew it. You can also request and receive advance parole.
- USCIS will continue to accept the filing of new requests for DACA and employment authorization but they will not grant these requests.
DACA is expected to have more legal challenges. The Texas court case that is blocking new applicants is expected to be appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court.
The Biden Administration has stated they will protect dreamers with the new rule announced by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
DACA advocates want more. DACA still does not expand on who can qualify for work authorization. It also does not offer a pathway to citizenship.
You must meet the following requirements:
- You have not left the USA on or after August 15, 2012 (without advance parole).
- You have continuously lived in the USA since your most recent DACA approval.
- You have not been convicted of a felony, a significant misdemeanor, or three or more misdemeanors.
If your DACA has expired, you can still submit a renewal application. If your DACA has expired beyond one year, you can still request DACA by submitting a new request.
TIP: apply for renewal 120 to 150 days before your current DACA expires to avoid disruption of status.
Yes. Workers with DACA can continue to renew their DACA and employment authorizations. Work permit requests are filed with Form I-765.
DACA employees are not required to tell employers they have DACA. Firing employees who have the legal right to work (like DACA recipients) based on their immigration status might violate federal law. If you believe you have suffered discrimination you can call the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division at 800-255-7688.
Advance parole is a permit to leave the USA and come back. This permit must be received before you leave the country. Advance parole will be considered for DACA recipients but it is not guaranteed.
- If you currently have advance parole, it is valid until it expires.
- If you travel outside the United States without advance parole, your DACA will be canceled. Speak to a lawyer or trusted immigration professional before leaving the USA.
Yes, you can still apply but you will not be able to get DACA. Although USCIS will still accept applications for the first time, the court order prevents USCIS from processing or approving these applications.
Contact an immigration lawyer to learn about this option. Some lawyers say you should still send your new DACA application. They believe it could be good to have it pending in case the ruling changes. Beware of notarios and others who are seeking to charge to save you a spot in line.
You can apply for DACA for the first time if you meet the following requirements:
- You were under the age of 31 on June 15, 2012 (born after June 15, 1981).
- You are currently 15 years old or older or are under 15 but in removal proceedings.
- You started living in the US before your 16th birthday.
- You started living in the US before June 15, 2007, and have lived here ever since.
- You were physically present in the US on June 15, 2012.
- You have not had any serious trouble with the law.
- You are in school, have graduated, or served in the military. These include:
- currently in school, a GED® program, or similar programs
- graduated from high school or secondary school
- obtained a GED®
- honorably discharged veteran of the Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the United States
TIP: Start collecting documents that can help you prove the requirements.
Remember, USCIS is accepting new applications but is not processing them. If you decide to apply, you will still have to pay the fees. Please check the fees before sending in your application.
If you have more questions, you can speak to a USCIS representative by calling their Contact Center at 800-375-5283 (TTY 800-767-1833).
It is important to get help if you can. Many organizations and lawyers offer free or low-cost legal services. Here are organizations that help people with DACA:
Free assistance to help renew and apply for DACA.
Offers an annotated DACA application form with notes to help you fill it out.
Offers a step-by-step guide to eligibility and applying for DACA.
Resources for DACA applicants and recipients.
Offers a step-by-step guide on how to apply and renew your DACA that includes virtual preparation sessions.
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The information on this page comes from the National Immigration Law Center, USCIS, and other trusted sources. It is intended for guidance and is updated as often as possible. USAHello does not give legal advice, nor are any of our materials intended to be taken as legal advice.