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Do I Qualify for Deferred Action For Childhood Arrivals (DACA)?

Rockville Centre, NY |

I came here at age 11 from Nigeria. My father was a diplomat so I was on G-1 Status. When my father left in 2007 I stayed and went to college but I switched to F-1 instead because I did not want to be illegal. Now I have violated my post completion OPT which started Feb 2013 because I am unemployed. Since I came here as a child by no fault of my own do I qualify? I have been here 11 years, have a Bachelors in Nursing and graduated with honors. Hospitals will not hire or sponsor me because the OPT is only good for one year and they need an employee who can stay/work longer. DACA gets renewed and I desperately need employment then I will got to graduate school.

I have stayed in the US continuously since May 2002. I have never left and I can prove it. It is impossible for me to get H1-B visa because new graduate Registered Nurses do not qualify for this visa. Also if my OPT expires Feb 2014 can I still apply for DACA? I am eligible for everything but this one line confuses me "Entered without inspection before June 15, 2012, or had any lawful immigration status expired on or before June 15, 2012". I came legally with inspection and an I-94 but I was in F-1 status on June 15, 2012. If I had known I would have cancelled my F-1 Status because I would rather have DACA than OPT. So What Should I do? Please Help.

Attorney Answers 3


  1. No because you were in status on June 15, 2012.

    Mr. Shusterman is a former INS Trial Attorney (1976-82) with over 35 years of immigration experience. His response to your question is general in nature, as not all the facts are known to him. You should retain an attorney experienced in immigration law to review all the facts in your case in order to receive advice specific to your case. Mr. Shusterman's statement above does not create an attorney/client relationship.


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  3. In order to qualify for DACA, you would need to satisfy a number of requirements namely:
    - you were under the age of 31 on June 15, 2012; you arrived in the United States before turning 16;
    - you were continuously resided in the United States from June 15, 2007, to the present;
    - you were physically present in the United States on June 15, 2012, as well as at the time of requesting deferred action from USCIS;
    - you entered without inspection before June 15, 2012, or any lawful immigration status
    expired on or before June 15, 2012; and
    - on the date of the request, you are in school, have graduated or obtained a certificate of completion from high school, have obtained a general education development (GED).

    As my colleague rightly pointed out if you had F1 status on June 15, 2012 you would not qualify under the penultimate requirement. Their are a number of ways that one may become eligible for a visa, namely through your family, work or through some humanitarian ground and I would suggest consulting with a Immigration Attorney to see if their are any other grounds under which you may be eligible for a visa.

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