A blog about U.S. immigration matters by Paul Szeto, a former INS attorney and an experienced immigration attorney and counsel. Contact Info: 732-632-9888, http://www.1visa1.com/ (All information is not legal advice and is subject to change without prior notice.)

Saturday, January 31, 2015

USCIS to accept expanded DACA applications on February 18, 2015

On November 20, 2014, President Obama announced a series of executive actions to reform the current immigration system including allowing certain parents of U.S. citizens and residents to stay and work in the U.S. without fear of deportation, as well as expanding the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.  USCIS just announced that the federal agency will begin accepting applications for the expanded DACA program on February 18, 2015.

Expanded DACA Program
The expanded DACA program is for individuals present in the U.S. without legal immigration status to apply for deferred action benefits for the first time.  Existing DACA program participants may also take this opportunity to renew their DACA benefits.   Under the expanded program, the period of deferred action and employment authorization will be three years, and the current age of the applicants will no longer be a factor for consideration.  (Under the existing program, applicants must be 30 years old or younger and the benefits only last two years).  

Further, under the expanded program, applicants who have lived in the U.S. continuously since January 1, 2010 will be eligible to apply (as opposed to the prior requirement of June 15, 2007).   Applicants must still be currently enrolled in school, have graduated from high school, has obtained a general education development certificate, or are honorably discharged veterans of the Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the United States.  They must not have been convicted of a felony offense, a significant misdemeanor offense, multiple misdemeanor offenses, or otherwise poses a threat to national security or public safety.  

Application Process
Under the existing DACA program, applicants must submit Form I-821D, Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, Form 765, Application for Employment Authorization Document and Form 765 WS.  Additionally, applicants must also submit documents proving their identity; evidence that they came to the U.S. before the age of 16; evidence that they have been continuously living in the U.S. since January 1, 2010; and  evidence that they are attending school or have graduated from high school or proof they were honorably discharged from the Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the U.S.

Other immigration reform changes
Other changes regarding immigration reform will be rolled out slowly.  For example, the deferred action for parents of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents (DAPA) is expected to take effect by mid or late May.  Tens of thousands of applications will be submitted to the USCIS once the application window is open, and the processing time is expected to be long.   We are advising our clients to get their documents ready as early as possible so that we can submit their applications immediately once the application window is open.   

No comments:

Post a Comment