Written by attorney Karen-Lee Pollak

Deferred Action Eligibility & Requirements

Although the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act has yet to pass both houses of Congress, President Obama has declared that certain young people who qualify may receive deferred action on deportation based on the DREAM Act requirements. The deferment is available for a two-year period and subject to renewal. The process is extensive, including a background check and documentation, which must be provided by the applicant. Each application is reviewed on a case-by-case basis. Deferred action only means that individuals may live and work in the United States for up to two years, subject to renewal. Until the DREAM Act passes both houses of Congress, those who benefit from deferred action will not be eligible for permanent resident status.

Eligibility There are five basic requirements that must be met by those who want to be considered for deferred action. According to the Secretary's memorandum from the Department of Homeland Security, to be eligible, individuals must: 1. Have come to the United States prior to reaching age sixteen; 2. Have continuously resided in the United States for a minimum of five years prior to the date of the Secretary's memorandum of June 15, 2012 and were present in the United States as of the date of the memorandum; 3. Currently be in school, have graduated from high school, have obtained a general education development (GED) certificate, or are honorably discharged veterans of the Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the United States; 4. Have not been convicted of a felony offense, a significant misdemeanor offense, multiple misdemeanor offenses, or otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety; 5. Not be above the age of thirty.

Other Requirements Additional requirements, as released by the Department of Homeland Security include the following: - Individuals must conduct a background check, and must be 15 years or older unless subject to a final order of removal. The individual applicant is responsible for proving these criteria. - Individuals must complete the process set out by USCIS on August 15, 2012 to request deferred action and employment authorization. - Individuals who are not in removal proceedings or who are subject to a final order of removal will need to submit a request for a review of their case and supporting evidence to USCIS, as outlined in the USCIS process. The USCIS hotline and website are available to individuals who need more information on the new process. - Individuals who are currently in immigration detention are not eligible to apply for deferred action. However, those who meet the guidelines should contact their detention officer and/or the ICE Office of the Public Advocate for a case review.

Deferred Action Process The USCIS has released the forms required to apply for deferred action, which include Form I-821D, Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, and Form 1-765WS, Worksheet, which are to establish your economic need for employment. All forms and applicable fees should be filled out completely and submitted as directed to USCIS with the applicable fees to be considered for deferred action. Forms may be submitted beginning August 15, 2012. Check the USCIS Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Process website or call the hotline to determine exactly which supporting documentation you are required to submit with the forms. Once USCIS has determined your paperwork is complete and that all fees have been paid, you will receive a receipt and an appointment notice for biometrics services at an Application Support Center (ASC). Both biographic and biometric background checks will be performed before USCIS can determine whether you will receive deferred action.

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