Deferred Action

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals

Generally, deferred action is a discretionary determination as to whether to defer or stop an illegal immigrant's the removal proceeding. All cases are reviewed and decided on a case by case basis. It is important to understand that deferred action does not provide an applicant with a lawful status.

In order to qualify for deferred action, an individual must meet certain requirements. They are as follows:

  1. You were under the age of 31 as of June 15, 2012;
  2. You arrived in the United States before your 16th birthday;
  3. You have continuously resided in the United States since June 15, 2007, up to the present time.
  4. You were physically present in the United States on June 15, 2012, and at the time of submitting your request for deferred action with USCIS.
  5. You entered without inspection before June 15, 2012, or your lawful immigration status expired as of June 15, 2012.
  6. You are currently in school, or have graduated or obtained a certificate of completion from high school, or have obtained a general education development (GED) certificate, or are an honorably discharged veteran of the Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the United States; and
  7. Have not 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.

Additionally, you must be at least 15 years old or older in order to file for deferred action, unless you are currently in removal proceedings or have a final removal or voluntary departure order.

The USCIS form for deferred action is I-821D. It is important to know that filing the form without the necessary supporting documents will not make you eligible for deferred action. It is crucial that you have proofs for the various requirements listed above.

In addition to form I-821D and all supporting documents, you must file Forms I-765 and I-765WS along with the applicable filing fees. The fees are not subject to waiver.

If you have been convicted of a felony you are not eligible for deferred action. USCIS defines felony as a federal, state or local criminal offense punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year. If you have been convicted of a misdemeanor, it is best to consult with an attorney to determine whether your misdemeanor falls under "significant" or "non-significant" misdemeanor categories. USCIS does not consider minor traffic offenses misdemeanors for purposes of deferred action. However, driving under the influence is considered a "significant misdemeanor" regardless of the sentence imposed.

If USCIS approves your request for deferred action, you may apply for an advance parole/travel document by filing Form I-131 along with the required supporting documents. Traveling outside the United States without an advance parole, may result in the automatic termination of your deferred action. It is imperative that your consult an immigration lawyer before filing of your deferred action application. You must submit a substantial number of documents in order to meet the basic requirements described above.

Authored by: Aneliya Angelova

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