DACA Dreamer Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Application Checklist

DACA Dreamer Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Application Checklist

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A wonderful immigrant youth advocacy organization, DREAM Activist, has put out an easy-to-understand checklist to get DREAMers started on applying for DACA Deferred Action. You can also check out our own guide below to help you begin the application process.

In order to file the application for DREAMer deferred action, you must obtain evidence showing that you:

  • Have come to the United States under the age of sixteen;
  • Have continuously resided in the United States for at least five years as of June 15, 2012;
  • Currently be in school, have graduated from high school, have obtained a general education development certificate, or are honorably discharged veterans of the Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the United States;
  • Have not been convicted of a felony offense, a significant misdemeanor offense, multiple misdemeanor offenses, or otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety;
  • Are not above the age of thirty.
  • Are 15 years of age or older


To prove that you entered before turning 16 and that you have resided in the United States for the previous 5 years, USCIS requires that you support your deferred action application with financial records, medical records, school records, employment records, and/or military records.

You must prove your identity and age (including that you were under age 31 on 06/15/12), and you should have at least one valid, government-issued photo ID for the process. You should collect all of your identity documents:

  • Certified copy of your birth certificate
  • Photocopy of your birth certificate (if no certified copy is available)
  • Valid passport
  • Expired passports
  • Valid consular ID card
  • Expired consular ID cards
  • Valid school ID
  • Expired school IDs
  • Photo ID documents issued by DHS
  • Any other official photo ID

You must prove you arrived in the United States before age 16, have continuously resided in the United States from 06/15/07 to the present, and evidence you were in the United States on 06/15/12. You should collect these records:

  • Complete school records (cumulative transcripts should be particularly helpful)
  • Medical records (including vaccination records)
  • Financial records (including bank statements/checks; rent, IRS W-2s and tax transcripts, utility or credit card bills)
  • Employment records (including tax returns)
  • Military records
  • Other records (cell phone records; sports or academic club records; union records; church records, including baptism, communion, or confirmation records)

You must prove you are in school, graduated from high school, have a GED, or have been honorably discharged from the military. You should collect these records:

  • Diploma
  • GED certificate
  • Report cards
  • School transcripts
  • Military records Current as of 07/09/12

You should also gather the materials listed below IF THEY APPLY TO YOU:

If you are married:

  • Certified copy of marriage certificate
  • Proof of lawful immigration status of your spouse, if any

If you have children:

  • Certified copy of birth certificates
  • Proof of lawful immigration status of your children, if any
  • If you have other immediate family with lawful immigration status:
  • Proof of the family relationship
  • Proof of the lawful immigration status of your family member

If you have an immigration history:

  • Lawful entry documents (visa, I-94 card, border crossing card)
  • Immigration applications filed with DHS
  • Removal proceedings documents from DHS and the immigration court
  • Results of an FBI background check showing any stops at the border

If you have left the United States since 06/15/07:

  • Travel documents
  • Documents justifying or explaining your absences

If you have been cited or arrested as a juvenile or as an adult:

  • Results of a California Department of Justice background check
  • Results of an FBI background check
  • Certified copies of dispositions from each citation or arrest – or proof that no charges were filed

By handing in more official and certified documents, you increase your chances of avoiding a request for additional evidence (RFE) and thereby unnecessary delays in obtaining employment authorization. If you don’t have these documents, do not worry. We can help you come up with alternative solutions.

As a final note, because the criminal grounds of disqualification are so broad, please do a criminal background check before applying. These background check are not to be submitted with the application, as USCIS will be taking your fingerprints after you’ve applied. Instead, it’s to make sure you fully qualify for deferred action. Because many applicants will have had at least some minor run-ins with the law, it’s best to apply with your eyes open, and be 100% clear on the risks of applying. If you have ever been detained by the police, please contact us to assist in obtaining a background check.

Lastly there is a USCIS filing fee of $465, payable by bank check or money order to “Department of Homeland Security”.

Immigration Defense

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