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Determining Eligibility for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Program (Dream Act)

Posted by attorney Irina Lust

Many young undocumented immigrants who were brought to the United States by their parents received a valuable reprieve from the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (aka “The Dream Act"). The Dream Act offers temporary protection from the threat of deportation or removal, but applicants must comply with strict requirements. If you were brought to the U.S. by your parents, you may qualify for the benefits provided under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

Mandatory Requirements to Qualify for Deferred Action Program

The requirements to qualify for the Dream Act include the following:

  • Uninterrupted residence in the U.S. since June 15, 2007 to the current date
  • Current enrollment in school, graduation, certificate of completion from high school, honorable discharge from the U.S. Armed Forces/U.S. Coast Guard or a general education development certificate
  • Date of entry prior to the applicant’s 16th birthday
  • Presence in the U.S. when filing the application for deferred action
  • Younger than age 31 as of June 15, 2012
  • No disqualifying criminal convictions which includes significant misdemeanors, multiple misdemeanors (3 or more) and felonies
  • Unlawful entry without inspection prior to June 15, 2012 or expiration of lawful entry as of that date

Procedures for Seeking Deferred Removal Action

It is understandable that many young immigrants with notable accomplishments, such as college academic achievements, professional degrees, post-graduate degrees and service in the military may be afraid to seek the benefits of the Dream Act. These justifiable fears arise out of the potential risks of disclosing significant information to prove eligibility for the program. An applicant must complete the following forms:

I-821D Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals

I-765 Application for Employment Authorization

I-765 Worksheet

The fee associated with applying for the Deferred Action Program for Childhood Arrivals is $465, which includes an $85 biometric services fee.

You should have an experienced immigration attorney evaluate your specific situation to determine your eligibility and prepare the documents so that you do not face delay in obtaining approval. Additionaly, attorney will address your concerns about disclosing required information like date of unlawful entry, country of origin, undocumented status and other potentially compromising information.Depending on the specific circumstances of your situation, a criminal offense may disqualify you from relief and could even expose you to removal or deportation.

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