Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals simply means that you will not be placed into removal proceedings or removed from the United States for a period of two years if approved. People granted deferred action are eligible for work authorization for the duration of the deferral. The deferred action, if not terminated, is renewable for another two years. You must also request an extension of your employment authorization at that time of the renewal. You are eligible for deferred action for childhood arrivals if you:
1. Were under the age of 31 as of June 15, 2012. This means that you were born after June 15, 1981.
2. Came to the United States before reaching your 16th birthday. This means that if you came at 16 or older, you are not eligible.
3. Have continuously resided in the United States since June 15, 2007, up to now. This means that a brief departure from the U.S. does not end the continuous residence. Your absence will be considered brief, casual, and innocent, if it was before August 15, 2012, and:
a. The absence was short and reasonably calculated to accomplish the purpose for the absence;
b. The absence was not because of an order of exclusion, deportation, or removal;
c. The absence was not because of an order of voluntary departure, or an administrative grant of voluntary departure before you were placed in exclusion, deportation, or removal proceedings.
d. The purpose of the absence and/or your actions while outside the United States were not contrary to law.
4. Were physically present in the United States on June 15, 2012, and also at the time you applied for the deferred action with USCIS;
5. Entered without inspection before June 15, 2012, or your lawful immigration status expired as of June 15, 2012;
6. Are currently in school, or have graduated or obtained a certificate of completion from high school, or have obtained a general education development (GED) certificate, or are an honorably discharged veteran of the Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the United States; and
7. Have not been convicted of a felony, significant misdemeanor, three or more other misdemeanors, and do not otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety;
8. Are at least 15 years of age at the time of filing. If you have been in removal proceedings or if your case was terminated before your request you can be under 15.
You must submit Form I-821D, Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals along with Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, and I-765WS, Worksheet and a fee of $380 and $85 for a total of $465. if you want to be notified of the status of the case via text or email a Form G-1145, E-Notification of Application/Petition Acceptance.
Please note that more than the forms, failure to submit proper evidence would lead to denial as USCIS needs to ascertain the validity of your claim and the burden of proving eligibility is on you not USCIS. You need to remember to have all documents not in English translated properly. You also need to establish your age, the time, manner and place for when you entered the country, and the fact that you were not yet 16. You also need to establish the fact that you do not have serious criminal record and that you have continuously lived in the U.S. since June 15, 2007 and that you were present in the US both on June 15, 2012 and when you applied for the deferral, as well as proof of your education or involvement in the military.
If you have been out of the U.S. since 2007 you have to show that the absences were brief and innocent. Those who entered without inspection have an even bigger burden as they will have to show entry but without the aid of an immigration inspection.
If you apply for the deferral and are denied, your case unless it involves a criminal offense, fraud, or a threat to national security or public safety, will not be referred to ICE for removal. If at any time during the time you are in possession of the deferred action you get a third misdemeanor, become a threat to the national security of the U.S. or public safety, are convicted of a felony or a significant misdemeanor your deferred action will be terminated. If terminated for criminal grounds or national security or public safety issues you will be placed under removal proceedings.
Please remember that the deferral does not confer a single status and is not a path to citizenship or residency. It does allow people to get a work permit, their social security and a driving license and for those continuing with their education an easier path towards completion.