In 2012, the government announced a new program that can help some people who are here without legal status receive work authorization and limited protection from deportation.  It’s called Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or “DACA.”

If you are thinking about applying for DACA, we have some important information and tips we would like to share with you.  Unfortunately, there is a great deal of misinformation about DACA and we hope to help you better understand your options.

DACA gives you permission to work in the United States.  It also gives you what is called “deferred action.”  Deferred action is a fancy term that means that the government will choose not to deport a person who is in the United States without any lawful immigration status.  DACA is discretionary, which means that immigration officers do not have to approve every DACA case.  DACA is currently granted for 2 years, and is renewable at the end of those 2 years.


(Currently Initial DACA Applications are Paused)

First: you must be 15 or older to qualify for DACA.

Second: You must have come to the United States before you turned 16 years old.

Third: You must have been under the age of 31 on June 15, 2012.

Fourth: You must have had no lawful immigration status on June 15, 2012.

Fifth: You must be physically present in the United States when you submit your DACA, and you must have been physically present in the United States on June 15, 2012.

Sixth: You must be physically present in the United States from June 15, 2007 through the current date

Seventh: You must currently be in school, have graduated or obtained a certificate of completion from high school, have obtained a General Educational Development (GED) certificate, or be an honorably discharged veteran of the Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the United States.

Finally:  You must not have been convicted of a felony, significant misdemeanor, three or more other misdemeanors, and do not otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety.

Here’s how the process worked prior to September 2017.


  • You will be required to prove that you meet all of the qualifications. This means that you must gather documents to show that you have lived in the United States since June 2007, that you have graduated high school or are currently enrolled, and that you entered the United States before you turned 16.
  • Common examples to show physical presence include vaccination records, school records, medical records, bills, bank statements, and receipts.
  • File your Application
    • Once you have gathered all of the necessary documents, you are able to apply for your DACA.
    • Cost: $465)
    • Processing time: 6 months – 1 year


  • You have used fake documents to enter the United States
  • You have sold, smuggled, or trafficked drugs
  • You helped anyone else enter the United States illegally
  • You have told someone before that you are a U.S. citizen
  • You have been convicted of any felony offense
  • You have been convicted of any crime involving domestic violence; sexual abuse or exploitation; burglary; unlawful possession or use of a firearm; drug distribution or trafficking; or, driving under the influence; even if it was a misdemeanor
  • You have left the United States without permission on or after June 15, 2012
  • You did not enter the United States before you turned 16