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Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) has arrived! This is an amazing opportunity for DREAMers nationwide, and we're excited to present this detailed Step-by-Step Guide. Please forward this to any DREAMer who is considering applying for this program. STEP 1: Take a Deep Breath — Figure Out Whether DACA is Right For You Relax, there’s time! It’s important to learn as much as you can about DACA and figure out whether it makes sense for you to apply. Here are some things you should be asking yourself: Am I eligible for DACA? Is now the right time to apply for DACA? Given that DACA a temporary, discretionary program that could be terminated or changed at any time, what are the risks to applying? Do I have any longer-term immigration remedies to pursue? To find out more information about DACA, we suggest you review USCIS's official FAQ section. You can also check out E4FC's detailed DACA FAQs (created with Curran & Berger LLP), which will help you evaluate whether DACA makes sense for you. Finally, if you want to know about other options, you can review our guide (created with Curran & Berger LLP) Beyond Deferred Action: Long-Term Immigration Remedies Every DREAMer Should Know About. STEP 2: Understand Your Eligibility for DACA Once you’ve decided to apply, you’ll want to confirm that you’re eligible. For students living in the California Bay Area (that’s Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, Solano, Sonoma, and Yolo counties), you can use E4FC’s free, anonymous, and online Case Analysis Service. We’ll help you understand your eligibility for DACA as well as longer-term immigration remedies. For students living outside the California Bay Area, we encourage you to use We Own the Dream’s national online screening tool. This is an automated tool that will give you a preliminary understanding of your eligibility. STEP 3: Not Sure Whether You’re Eligible? Get Legal Help Confused about whether you’re eligible for DACA? Have a complicated case (i.e. have a criminal incident, traveled outside the U.S., etc.)? You’ll definitely want to talk to an attorney. You can look for an informational event in your area. We’ve also written some suggestions for how to look for an attorney. STEP 4: Gather Your Application Documents Confirmed that you’re eligible for DACA? Great! Now it’s time to start gathering your application documents. First, carefully review the official USCIS instructions for gathering your pre-application documents. Here’s a summary of what you’ll need: Two (2) passport-style photographs (for the Employment Authorization application) Copy of foreign passport biographic page and any prior visa & I-94 cards (if available) Copy of original birth certificate and translation□ Copy of marriage certificate or divorce (if applicable) Copy of every criminal and/or traffic court case on record (if applicable) Every incident/arrest/police report. If you cannot get your record—eg. it is more than 5 years old and the police station records dept has destroyed it—then ask the police for a letter on letterhead saying that the record has been purged. Every criminal complaint/charging document from the district attorney (or other prosecutor). That’s the court document a prosecutor first files with all of the charges against you and what they think you are potentially guilty of having committed from a single incident. Every final criminal court disposition record. That’s the final ruling from the judge in your case stating the outcome after settlement or trial or dismissal; it should include your sentence and post-conviction sentencing information Post-conviction showing that you completed all terms of probation/sentence. For example, if you are still on probation, it is something showing you are currently in compliance. Copy of school records, such as: Proof of Enrollment Report Cards and/or Transcripts School Identification Card(s) Awards from high school (and college, if applicable) [*]Copy of high school diploma or GED certificate (if applicable) [*]Proof of entry prior to age 16, continuous residence in U.S. since June 15, 2007, and on June 15, 2012, such as: Federal Income Tax Returns or Tax Transcripts (filed independently or as a dependent) Employment records, letters from internships & volunteer work, medical records Leases, rental receipts, other dated receipts, utility bills, cell phone bills Bank statements, credit card statements, copies of cancelled checks Birth certificates of children and/or siblings born in the U.S. for the stated period Affidavits from relatives, friends, teachers, and churches attesting to your presence Photographs placing you in the U.S. since the age of 16 & since 2007 STEP 5: Gather Your Fees or Request a Fee Exemption Fees: The fees for DACA are $85 biometrics fee + $380 work authorization document fee = $465 total. Fee Exemption (must be completed and approved before you file): You cannot apply for a fee waiver, but there are some very limited exemptions. There are fee exemptions for those under 18, homeless, in foster care, lacking parental support, with income less than 150% of federal poverty guidelines, who cannot care for themselves because of chronic disability, or who have accumulated very serious medical-related debt. There will be a separate fee exemption form, which must be approved before a DACA request can be filed without a fee. It is hard to know how long it will take to review fee exemption requests. Check USCIS for more information about these exemptions, and how to apply. Other Financial Assistance: If you need help paying the application fees, you can apply for money from the Fund for DREAMers. STEP 6: Attend an Application Processing Event to Get Help Finalizing Your Application Go to We Own the Dream to find an application processing event in your area: STEP 7: Complete Application Forms Individuals *must* file the following forms: Form I-821D - Application for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Form I-765 - Application for Employment Authorization Document (EAD) Form I-765WS - Employment Authorization Worksheet This is recommended, but not mandatory: Form G-1145 - E-Notification of Application/Petition Acceptance (you’ll want to paperclip this to the front of the Form I-821D) STEP 8: Include Payment (Check or Money Order) In the application package you mail to USCIS, you’ll need to include two separate checks *or* money orders: one the $85 biometrics fee, and one $380 work authorization fee. If you plan to use personal checks, be sure there’s enough money in your account. If either check bounces, your application will be rejected. Checks must be made payable to "U.S. Department of Homeland Security." STEP 9: Confirm You Have the Correct USCIS Address The address to mail your application will depend on your U.S. state of residence (i.e. California, Illinois, New York, Texas, etc.). On the USCIS website, check the section “Filing Addresses for Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals” to find the correct mailing address on the Form I-821D. NOTE: USCIS will not accept any online, email, or faxed applications. STEP 10: Copy Your Entire DACA Application Before You Send It Make a photocopy or scan of your entire application, including the checks or money orders.You may need to refer to your application again in the future (or show it to an advocate or attorney). This is especially important if the Dream Act passes, or if you become eligible to file for permanent status; you will want a record of everything you stated in your DACA application. STEP 11: Mail Your DACA Application When you mail your application, we highly recommend that you select a delivery option that allows you to track your package. You will want to have proof the document was sent AND be able to see when it arrives. STEP 12: Sign Up for E-Notification or Manually Track Your Paper Receipt Number Online E-Notification Confirmation: If you fill out the Form G-1145, you’ll receive an e-Notification when your forms have been accepted (you’ll want to paperclip this form to the front of the Form I-821D) Paper Receipt Confirmation: Within 1-4 weeks of sending your DACA application, you should receive a paper receipt in the mail. We hope that all applicants will be able to track the online progress of their individual DACA receipts here and also track the general progress of all DACA applications’ processing times nationwide here. STEP 13: Attend a Biometrics Appointment Within four (4) months of getting your DACA receipt, you should get an appointment notice to visit an Application Support Center (ASC) to have your biometrics taken. Make sure to bring a valid (unexpired) government-issued photo ID (i.e. your passport) to your appointment. STEP 14: Look Out for a Possible “Request for Further Evidence” (RFE) Applying for DACA doesn’t require an individual interview, so you shouldn’t need to go to your local USCIS office for an interview. However, if anything is missing from your application, or if the adjudicating USCIS officer has questions, you may be mailed a “Request for Evidence” (RFE). You will need to respond to this RFE with additional proof by the deadline given (around 12 weeks). If you ignore this request, your case will be automatically denied. STEP 15: Await Notification of DACA Approval At this time, we don’t know how long DACA cases will take to process. Other USCIS humanitarian applications take around 8-12 months for a final decision (or longer). Once you receive notification that DACA has been approved, you will receive a work authorization card valid for 2 years. STEP 16: Obtain Local and State Benefits Once you’ve received your work authorization card, you can apply for various local and state benefits. All DACA recipients will be eligible for a Social Security Number. In some states, you will be able to apply for an identification card or driver's license. In California, you will be able to apply for an identification card or driver’s license. However, at this time, the State of California has not announced whether DACA recipients will be eligible for any additional public benefits. STEP 17: Investigate Long-Term Immigration Remedies Remember that DACA is only a temporary, discretionary program that could be terminated or changed at any time. While you’re waiting for approval of your DACA case (or even if your case has already been adjudicated), we encourage you to investigate if you have a longer-term immigration remedy. You can review our guide (created with Curran & Berger LLP) Beyond Deferred Action: Long-Term Immigration Remedies Every DREAMer Should Know About. For students living in the California Bay Area(that’s Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, Solano, Sonoma, and Yolo counties), you can use E4FC’s free, anonymous, and online Case Analysis Service.