An individual must:
- Have come to the United States before your sixteenth birthday.
- Have continuously lived in the U.S. since June 15, 2007, and up to the present time.
- Be present in the U.S. on June 15, 2012, and at the time of making your request for deferred action.
- Not have lawful immigration status on June 15, 2012. This means you must have entered the U.S. without papers before June 15, 2012, or, if you entered lawfully, your lawful immigration status must have expired as of June 15, 2012.
- Be at least 15 years old, if you have never been in deportation proceedings or your proceedings were terminated. If you are currently in deportation proceedings, have a voluntary departure order, or have a deportation order, and are not in immigration detention, you may request deferred action even if you are not yet 15 years old.
- Be 30 years old or younger as of June 15, 2012 (a person who had not yet turned 31 on that date is also eligible).
- Be in school, have graduated or obtained a certificate of completion from high school, have obtained a general education development (GED) certificate, or be an honorably discharged veteran of the Coast Guard or U.S. armed forces. If you are enrolled in school on the date that you submit your deferred action application, that will be considered to “be in school.”
- Being “in school” means being 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 you 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 GED (General Educational Development) exam or other equivalent state-authorized exam.
- Have not been convicted of a felony offense. A felony is a federal, state, or local criminal offense punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year.
- Have not been convicted of a significant misdemeanor offense or three or more misdemeanor offenses. See below for more information about offenses that may disqualify you.
- Not pose a threat to national security or public safety (DHS is still defining what these terms mean but has indicated that they include gang membership, participation in criminal activities, or participation in activities that threaten the U.S.).
- Pass a background check.
You can submit your request for deferred action on the I-821D “Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals” form. You must submit this form, together with the I-765 form requesting a work permit, to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Information about work permits is available on USCIS’s website at www.uscis.gov/i-765. You must show an economic need for employment in order to get the work permit.
Requests for deferred action must be mailed to the USCIS Lockbox. (Go to www.uscis.gov/i-821d for more information about the mailing address and instructions.) If USCIS finds that your request is complete, it will send you a receipt notice. USCIS will then send you an appointment notice to visit an Application Support Center (ASC) in order for you to have your fingerprints taken. USCIS will notify you of its final determination in writing.
We encourage you to check out NILC and United We Dream’s Frequently Asked Questions. If you or anyone you know is interested in requesting deferred action, please attend a community forum or workshop to get more information and make use of free or low-cost legal clinics run by nonprofit organizations. Also, contact your local immigrant youth organization or another immigrant advocacy organization in your community and ask them to refer you to a licensed, reputable lawyer. Or you can use the American Immigration Lawyers Association’s directory to find a lawyer.