DACA (Deferred Action) Forms Now Available

USCIS hosted another stakeholder teleconference this afternoon and announced the availability on the USCIS website of the forms that will be necessary to apply for DACA (deferred action for DREAMers) starting tomorrow (8/15/2012).  The forms are:

1) I-821D, available here, with instructions, and 2) I-765 and I-765 Worksheet, both available here, with instructions.  The I-821D (“Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals”) is the primary form, the I-765 is a standard “Application for Employment Authorization”, and the I-765 Worksheet shows economic need for work authorization.  The instructions should be read carefully, as they include required documents as well as filing locations.

The process was briefly explained.  As with many immigration forms, applicants will first receive a receipt notice, followed by an ASC appointment notice for taking biometrics.  ASC appointments are scheduled a few weeks in advance, and can be rescheduled in case of a conflict, but failure to attend or re-schedule can delay an application or result in denial.  Applications will be reviewed for potential fraud and a background check of the applicant will be conducted.  If insufficient evidence is submitted, the USCIS will issue an “RFE” (request for evidence) or schedule an interview.

If an application is approved, the applicant will first receive an approval notice, and later a work authorization document.  Processing may take several months to complete, but individuals will be able to check status online.  Because notices will be sent by mail, applicants MUST keep USCIS informed at all times of any changes in address.

The call went on to provide additional guidance on several issues, including the educational requirement.  In summary, in order to be considered to be “in school” an applicant must show that he or she is enrolled in:

  • a public or private elementary school, junior high or middle school, high school, or secondary school;
  • an education, literacy, or career training program (including vocational training) that is designed to lead to placement in postsecondary education, job training, or employment and where [they] are working toward such placement; or
  • an education program assisting students either in obtaining a regular high school diploma or its recognized equivalent under State law (including a certificate of completion, certificate of attendance, or alternate award), or in passing a General Educational Development (GED) exam or other equivalent State-authorized exam.

As with all applications, the burden will be on applicants to show eligibility, and circumstantial evidence will not be considered to show compliance with the education requirement (for example, an affidavit stating “I graduated from high school” will not suffice in place of a high school diploma).  It was noted that if an applicant who is currently in school wishes to renew their application in two years, they will have to show that they have made substantial progress toward completion of (or have completed) the program in question.

It was reiterated that if an applicant is referred to ICE or issued an NTA (for the reasons previously discussed), USCIS will NOT share information about their family members or guardians, however, that information may be shared for purposes other than removal (including fraud prevention, criminal investigations, or national security).

Finally, a lot of issues that were previously addressed were expanded upon during the Q&A – one new issue that was clarified is that previous immigration violations such as repeated unlawful entries, immigration fraud, or false claims to citizenship could result in denial as a matter of discretion, and would be addressed on a case-by-case basis.  If this is an issue that applies to you, it may be best to consult an attorney before submitting an application.

As always, the best source for information on DACA is the USCIS website, which has been updated today to include the information discussed on the call.

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