It is estimated there are around 11 million individuals living in the United States without legal authorization to be here. In 2014, President Obama created a new policy which allowed certain individuals illegally present in the United States to remain without fear of being deported and to gain work authorization. Presently, children who meet specific requirements may qualify under this policy known as Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals, known as DACA.

Understanding DACA Rules

DACA allows for special consideration that would halt deportation for a period of time. The individual must qualify by meeting the requirements, which include:

  • Must Have Lived in The U.S. Continuously Since 2007
  • Must Have Come To The U.S. Before Age 16
  • Must Be a High School Graduate or Equivalent
  • Must Not Have Been Convicted of a Felony
  • Must Not Be Deemed a Threat To National Security

The criteria for DACA can be somewhat complex; however, it offers a way for certain individuals who came to the U.S. as children, to remain here for a period of time. This period of time is generally two years, which is considered a period of deferred action.

Deferred Action

Deferred action simply means that the U.S. will put a hold on deportation. It is designed to allow individuals time to meet the criteria required to legally remain in the United States. DACA is very helpful for young adults who have been living in the U.S. for a long time, yet have not taken the steps necessary to address their legal immigration status. Those who qualify must submit an application for review, along with proof that they meet the current criteria.

DACA Forms

There are several forms that need to be submitted for DACA. These currently include the “Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals” form, along with an “Application for Employment Authorization” and “Economic Need” form, if applicable. The application for DACA is free at this time. However, the other forms may require payment upon submission. For example, the applicant must pay for the background check, which is a requirement.

DACA Process

Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals is a relatively new program, so the requirements and application process may change over time. Since the qualifications that must be met are rather complicated, it is beneficial to meet with an experienced immigration attorney to determine whether you qualify. This should be the first step in the process. If you qualify for this action, it is likely a very good option to pursue as you begin to resolve your U.S. immigration or citizenship status.


This blog should be used for informational purposes only. It does not create an attorney-client relationship with any reader and should not be construed as legal advice. If you need legal advice regarding Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals, or other Immigration Law matters, please feel free to contact Phil D. Ortega at  480.461.5330, log on to,  or contact an attorney in your area. Udall Shumway PLC is located in Mesa, Arizona and is a full service law firm. We assist Individuals, families, businesses, schools and municipalities in Mesa and the Phoenix/East Valley.