Throughout its history, the United States has welcomed people from all over the world to live and work here. The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program was created on June 15, 20112, as a safe harbor for those brought to the US at a young age by their parents. If you need help understanding how this program could work for you, a Duluth DACA lawyer from our firm can help demystify the process.
Barrios & Virguez is a family-run law firm with many years of experience helping immigrants complete the process of receiving DACA certification. Our team offers superior service and has a deep knowledge of US immigration law. If you are confused and worried about making mistakes that could jeopardize your ability to stay in the country, we want to help you with your case.
What Is the DACA Program?
The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program is a policy that sets out guidelines for individuals who were brought into the US as children without following the legal process for citizenship. It does not give lawful status to participants, but it does defer any actions meant to remove them from the country. When a person is approved for DACA status, they must renew their request to maintain it every two years, and they are also eligible for a work permit.
DACA has been the subject of some legal controversy in previous presidential administrations which has affected the approval process. They are currently accepting first-time applications and renewal requests, but there are delays in authorizing new requests for protection. You are still able to file your initial application, and a DACA lawyer in Duluth from our team can help you begin the paperwork.
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Why DACA Is Important for Those Who Qualify
DACA is not a path to citizenship in the United States but it can delay any removal action against a person for long enough that they can pursue other avenues for legal status or arrange to move to another country. Requesting renewal every two years and maintaining the requirements could allow a person to complete the steps needed to become a naturalized citizen if desired.
For those who may choose to move to another country, using the DACA program protects them from being forcibly removed from the US. They also remain in good standing with immigration services in the event they choose to return for work or to live permanently in the United States. In addition, participating in the approved program could be beneficial as part of an application for a visa or residency in other countries.
Duluth DACA Lawyer Near Me 678-888-2222
DACA Application Cost and Requirements
The application fee for an initial request is $495. DACA is a federal program so the cost is the same no matter where you live. This can be paid by cashier’s check, money order, certified check, or bank draft and must be drawn on a US financial institution paid in US funds. Fees are sent in with your application.
Renewal fees are also $495 and are subject to the same guidelines. To apply initially for DACA approval, you must meet several requirements and submit supporting documents showing you:
- Were younger than 31 as of June 15, 2012;
- Were brought to the US prior to your 16th birthday;
- Have continuously resided in the US from June 15, 2007, to the present date;
- Were physically present within the US on June 15, 2012, and at the time of your initial request;
- Did not have lawful status on June 15, 2012;
- Are currently in school, have a diploma or GED, or are an honorably discharged veteran of US forces; and
- Have no felony or misdemeanor convictions and do not pose a threat to national security or public safety.
Gathering all the evidence to submit with your application can be overwhelming and difficult, especially if you are younger. A skilled DACA attorney in Duluth specializes in making the process easier so your application can go through more quickly. Your attorney can help you understand the details of how the requirements apply in your specific situation.
DACA Processing Time
While most cases receive a response within about 90 days, the approval process time varies in each individual case. A response acknowledging receipt of the paperwork and fees will arrive 2-3 weeks after the initial request. If the applicant has not completed the form and documentation requirements properly, the request will be sent back for remediation.
Recent court decisions about the legality of the program may also affect the length of time before receiving approval. The most up-to-date information on how the policy is currently being administered is listed on the Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals page of the Department of Homeland Security website. When you work with a Duluth DACA attorney from Barrios & Virguez, we will examine your circumstances and keep you informed on the progress of your request.
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Traveling Abroad While Requesting DACA Status
Those who request DACA status and who need to travel out of the US will need to request advance parole to ensure they do not jeopardize their application. While this means more paperwork, it will protect their efforts to remain permanently in the country. To request advance parole, an individual must complete a separate form regarding their travel plans and itinerary.
Individuals must supply documentation of their need to leave the country for one of the following reasons:
- Humanitarian purposes: visiting sick family members, attending funerals, or receiving medical care
- Educational purposes: studying abroad or conducting academic research
- Employment purposes: working internationally as a job assignment, interviewing, attending conferences, or meeting with clients
Work Status and DACA Applications
Many individuals will request a work permit at the same time they complete their DACA application. These can be approved together, allowing the person to work legally in the US. It is important to remember that applicants are not eligible to work until their receive approval and their permit.
Get Help from a Qualified Duluth DACA Lawyer
Often called the “Dreamer” program, DACA is a valuable way to stay safe within the US until you decide on your future. It can be a confusing and stressful process that takes time to complete successfully. Working with a qualified Duluth DACA lawyer gives you the experience, knowledge, and support you need to gain the documentation to help you live and work in America in accordance with the law.
At Barrios & Virguez, we understand the complexities around this policy and how to use it for your needs. We specialize in all aspects of immigration law, including naturalization and fighting deportation. Schedule a consultation using our convenient online form or call us today.