Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Legal Services

On December 4, 2020, a federal judge ordered the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to fully restore the original Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. This is excellent news! This means that USCIS must start accepting initial DACA applications from first-time applicants. 

You may be eligible for DACA if you:

  1. Were born on or after June 16, 1981; 
  2. Came to the U.S. before you turned 16 years old;
  3. Have continuously resided in the U.S. since June 15, 2007 up to the present time;
  4. Were physically present in the U.S. on June 15, 2012 and at the time you file your DACA application;
  5. Entered the U.S. without inspection, or your lawful immigration status expired as of June 15, 2012;
  6. Are currently in school, have graduated high school, or obtained a GED;
  7. Have not been convicted of a felony, significant misdemeanor, or three or more other misdemeanor; and
  8. Are at least 15 years old at the time you file your application, unless you are or were in removal proceedings.


Here are key updates to the DACA program, as of December 4, 2020:

  • USCIS must process applications according to the 2012 DACA Program requirements. This means all eligible individuals can apply for the DACA for the first time, and all applicants who are eligible to renew their DACA can continue to file their DACA renewal applications. This includes eligible individuals who currently have DACA, whose DACA has expired, and whose DACA was terminated.
  • If your DACA was granted for one year, USCIS will automatically extend your DACA from one year to two years. Individuals who had their DACA applications processed after July 28, 2020 were issued DACA protection for one year, but now, after the recent federal court order, these DACA protections will automatically be extended to two years. Recipients should receive a notice from USCIS that indicates this extension of their DACA. 
  • USCIS will process Advance Parole requests for DACA recipients who can demonstrate they need to travel outside of the U.S. due to education, employment, or humanitarian reasons. DACA recipients can apply for an international travel permit called “Advance Parole,” if they can show they need to travel for education, employment, or humanitarian reasons. It is important that you consult a legal advocate before you apply for and travel on Advance Parole to discuss any risks, including COVID-19 restrictions.

You can find up-to-date resources about DACA on the ILRC website. You can also check the NILC website or the NILC Twitter for the latest updates. 

Here are additional resources for first-time DACA applicants:

In need of immigration legal services that aren’t connected to DACA? Click here

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