Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (“DACA”) is a new process in place for certain young people who can show that they do not pose a risk to national security and meet additional, specified criteria. Those who qualify will receive “Deferred Action.” Deferred Action status awards individuals with a two-year reprieve from deportation, and if approved, they will receive a two-year work permit that will be subject to renewal. Individuals who are denied deferred action do not have the ability to appeal.

To qualify for DACA:

  1. You must be at least 15 years of age in order to apply for this benefit;

  2. You must have been under the age of 31 on June 15th, 2012;

  3. You must have arrived in the United States before your 16th birthday;

  4. You must show that you continuously resided in the United States for 5 years prior to June 15th, 2012;

  5. You must show you were physically present in the United States on June 15th, 2012;

  6.  On the date of the application, you must show you are in school, have graduated or obtained a certificate of completion from high school, have obtained a general education development (GED) certificate, or received honorable discharge from the U.S. military; and

  7. You must show that you do not pose a threat to national security by showing you have no felony convictions, significant misdemeanors, or three or more misdemeanors. (NOTE: Depending on the case, some criminal activities pose automatic criminal bars to Deferred Action. Other offenses, do not lead to automatic disqualification. However, any criminal history can result in discretionary denial. You must discuss the particulars of your case with a licensed immigration lawyer).

Documentation used to establish that an individual has fulfilled the continuous residency requirement must be complete and accurate. This is key for obtaining deferred action status. For DACA relief, affidavits cannot be used to prove the educational or military service requirements, physical presence on June 15th, 2012, arrival in the U.S. prior to age 16, the under-31 age requirement, or criminal history. However, affidavits can be used to show brief, casual, and innocent departures from the United States.


The application process for Deferred Action began on August 15th, 2012. Those who are eligible can apply for relief now. There are still uncertainties about the program in terms of how long it will be available. If you believe you meet the above criteria, you should consult with a lawyer who can review your individual case with you as soon as possible.

Given the number of requirements and documents that must be submitted for consideration before being granted this benefit, obtaining deferred action status is a complex and multifaceted process. Consequently, it is highly recommended that you enlist the assistance of a qualified immigration attorney. The immigration attorneys at Bushell & Widdison have aided many clients in obtaining DACA status. We ensure that you and your family members have a peace of mind in undertaking DACA relief from beginning to end. If you or someone you know is interested in obtaining DACA relief, please contact the legal advocates of Bushell & Widdison today.