Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals

Notes on Deferred Action

  • Deferred action defers removal action of an individual as an act of prosecutorial discretion
  • Deferred action does not confer lawful status upon an individual
  • Deferred action does not excuse individuals of any previous or subsequent periods of unlawful presence
  • Individuals who receive deferred action will not be placed into removal proceedings or removed from the U.S. for the duration of the grant


A person is eligible if he/she:

1. Was under the age of 31 as of June 15, 2012;
2. Came to the U.S. before reaching his/her 16th birthday;
3. Has continuously resided in the U.S. since June 15, 2007, up to the present time, barring brief, casual absences (see below)

• The absence was short and reasonably calculated to accomplish the purpose for the absence;

• The absence was not because of an order of exclusion, deportation, or removal;

• The absence was not because of an order of voluntary departure, or an administrative grant of voluntary departure before being placed in exclusion, deportation, or removal proceedings; and

• The purpose of the absence and/or his or her actions while outside the United States were not contrary to law.

• HOWEVER, after August 15, 2012, if the applicant travels outside of the United States, he/she will not be considered for deferred action under this process (regardless of whether or not he/she has requested it).

4. Was physically present in the U.S. on June 15, 2012, and at the time of application to USCIS;

5. Entered without inspection before June 15, 2012, or lawful immigration status expired as of June 15, 2012;

6. Is currently in school (enrolled in school on the date a request for consideration of deferred action is submitted), has graduated or obtained a certificate of completion from high school, has obtained a GED, or is an honorably discharged veteran of the U.S. Coast Guard or the U.S. Armed Forces; and

7. Has not been convicted of a felony, a “significant misdemeanor,” three or more other misdemeanors, or does not otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety;

    •  “Significant Misdemeanor”: For the purposes of this process, a significant misdemeanor is a misdemeanor as defined by federal law (specifically, one for which the maximum term of imprisonment authorized is one year or less but greater than five days) and that meets the following criteria:

1. Regardless of the sentence imposed, is an offense of domestic violence; sexual abuse or exploitation; burglary; unlawful possession or use of a firearm; drug distribution or trafficking; or, driving under the influence; or,
2. If not an offense listed above, is one for which the individual was sentenced to time in custody of more than 90 days. The sentence must involve time to be served in custody, and therefore does not include a suspended sentence.

8. Is at least 15 years of age or older at the time of filing, and meets the other guidelines.


Examples of documentation to prove that you arrived in the US before age 16, that you have resided in the US for at least five years, and that you were physically present in the US on June 15, 2012:

  • financial records
  •  medical records
  •  school records
  •  employment records
  •  military records

Examples of documentation to prove that you are currently in school, have graduated from high school, or have obtained a general education development certificate (GED):

  •  Diplomas
  • GED Certificates
  •  Report cards
  •  School transcripts

Examples of documentation to prove that you are an honorably discharged veteran of the Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the United States:

  • report of separation forms
  • military personnel records
  • military health records

Notes Regarding Other Offenses

  •  A minor traffic offense (i.e., driving without a license) will not be considered a misdemeanor for purposes of this process.
  •  Driving under the influence is considered a significant misdemeanor.
  • Immigration related offenses characterized as felonies or misdemeanors by state immigration laws will not be treated as disqualifying felonies or misdemeanors

Filing Process

1. Required Forms:

2. Required filing fees:

  • $465 total

3. Mail forms and fees to the proper location

  • Refer to the following table:

Fee Waivers

In order to be considered for a fee exemption, you must submit a letter and supporting documentation to USCIS demonstrating that you meet one of the following conditions:

  • You are under 18 years of age, homeless, in foster care or otherwise lacking any parental or other familial support, and your income is less than 150% of the U.S. poverty level.
  • You cannot care for yourself because you suffer from a serious, chronic disability and your income is less than 150% of the U.S. poverty level.
  • You have, at the time of the request, accumulated $25,000 or more in debt in the past 12 months as a result of unreimbursed medical expenses for yourself or an immediate family member, and your income is less than 150% of the U.S. poverty level.

For evidence, USCIS will:

  • Accept affidavits from community-based or religious organizations to establish a requestor’s homelessness or lack of parental or other familial financial support.
  • Accept copies of tax returns, banks statement, pay stubs, or other reliable evidence of income level. Evidence can also include an affidavit from the applicant or a responsible third party attesting that the applicant does not file tax returns, has no bank accounts, and/or has no income to prove income level.
  •  Accept copies of medical records, insurance records, bank statements, or other reliable evidence of unreimbursed medical expenses of at least $25,000.
  •  Address factual questions through requests for evidence (RFEs).

Please check the USCIS website (listed below) for the most current information.

Further Resources