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Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Information and Resources

On June 15, 2012, the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issued a memorandum allowing individuals who came to the U.S. as children and meet certain guidelines to apply for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).  A person who is granted DACA receives permission to live and work in the U.S. for two years (may be renewed).  If someone is approved for DACA, s/he may apply for a social security number and in most states, a driver’s license.


Resources by type: 

General Information about DACA

  • If approved for DACA, receives permission to live and work in the U.S. for two years (may be renewed). 
  • Eligible to apply for work permit (using U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Form I-765, Application for Work Authorization and USCIS Form I-765WS (Worksheet))
  • Eligible to apply for social security number
  • In most states, eligible to apply for driver’s license
  • A DACA grantee is considered lawfully present in the U.S. 
  • May apply for permission to travel outside the U.S. for humanitarian, employment, or educational reasons (using USCIS Form I-131, Application for Travel Document)
  • The government has discretion to grant or deny DACA.
  • The government has discretion to revoke DACA if the individual engages in activities that no longer makes him/her eligible for DACA. 
  • DACA is not a path to lawful permanent residence or citizenship.
  • DACA does not offer benefits to family members of DACA grantees. 
  • Under certain circumstances, applying for DACA can lead the government to take enforcement action against an individual.  Thus, it is highly recommended that a person seek advice from a licensed attorney or Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) accredited representative prior to submitting an application for DACA.   

To be eligible for DACA, an individual must show the following:

  • Under 31 years old as of June 15, 2012;
  • At least 15 years old at time of filing, unless in immigration court proceedings, or has final removal order or voluntary departure; 
  • Came to the U.S. before turning 16;    


Continuous Residence
  • Continuously resided in the U.S. since June 15, 2007 until the present time (An applicant who has brief, casual, and innocent absences from the U.S. may still be able to show that s/he “continuously resided” in the U.S. However, the applicant cannot have any absences after August 15, 2012)


Physical Presence
  • On June 15, 2012, was physically present in the U.S.;
  • At the time of the DACA request, is physically present in the U.S.; 


Immigration Status
  • Entered without inspection by immigration authorities prior to June 15, 2012 or has expired lawful immigration status as of June 15, 2012;


Education or Honorable Discharge
  • Currently in school (includes English as a Second Language courses, career training programs, General Education Development (GED) courses, etc.); or
  • Graduated or obtained certificate of completion from high school; or
  • Obtained general education development (GED) certificate; or 
  • Honorably discharged veteran of Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the U.S.; 


Criminal and Public Safety
  • Not convicted of a felony, significant misdemeanor, three or more other misdemeanors, and is not a threat to national security or public safety.

Resources for Legal Service Providers

The following documents from USCIS were obtained by the Center for Immigrants’ Rights of Penn State University in response to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request.  We thank Shoba Sivaprasad Wadhia, Esq. and her students for sharing these documents with CLINIC.

These following four documents from U.S. Customs and Border Protection were obtained by the American Immigration Lawyers Association in response to a FOIA request. We thank AILA for sharing these documents with CLINIC.