DACA is a wonderful benefit! At Lawit Law, we have seen how this form of temporary immigration relief has changed the lives of many of our clients. The issue many faced, however, is that they struggled to find the much needed evidence to apply. So we are sharing not only the list of requirements for DACA, but also the ways in which we have seen clients show their eligibility.
To be eligible for DACA, you must:
- Have come to the United States before your 16th birthday
- Have lived continuously in the U.S. since June 15, 2007 and until the time you apply for DACA
- Have been present in the U.S. on June 15, 2012
- Not have a lawful immigration status on June 15, 2012
- Have been born on or after June 15, 1981
- Be at least 15 years old at the time you apply for DACA (but you can apply at any age if you are in removal proceedings)
- Have graduated or obtained a certificate of completion from high school, have obtained a general education development (GED) certificate, be an honorably discharged veteran of the Coast Guard or U.S. armed forces, or “be in school” on the date you submit your DACA application.
- Don’t have a significant criminal record, which includes not having been convicted of a felony, a significant misdemeanor, or three or more misdemeanor offenses.
Now, to the evidence. You will need to show evidence of your identity, which would most likely help you document that you meet the age requirements. If you have EVER been arrested, questioned, or detained by law enforcement, you should obtain copies of your records and have them reviewed by an immigration attorney. Note expunged or sealed convictions are still convictions for immigration purposes, just like criminal activities that are normally not considered felonies within the criminal context, but could pose a significant issue for your immigration case.
When documenting their eligibility, many of our clients have had issues showing evidence of their continuous presence for the required time period, and that they were in the United States on their 16th birthday (or earlier) and on June 15, 2012 (when DACA was announced). Here are some traditional, and not so traditional, forms of evidence our clients have used:
- Medical records (either yours or your children’s)
- School records (either yours or your children’s)
- Leases, utility bills, bank statements
- Employment records (think paystubs, W-2 forms, but also those clock-in and out records!)
- Facebook posts (especially those where you checked-in a a US location)
- Purchases and receipts showing you were in the US (think about those store memberships! many keep your record of purchases!)
- Correspondence addressed to your address in the US
Please keep in mind that USCIS accepts affidavits to cover gaps in the evidence, but they will NOT accept affidavits as the sole evidence for the following requirements:
- Being in the US before your 16th birthday
- Being in school or having graduated from high school
- Being in the US on June 15, 2012
- Evidence of your age or criminal history
Regardless of what evidence you are able to gather, make sure to consult an experienced and reputable immigration attorney before you apply for DACA.