January 30, 2015
NOTE: As per the Supreme Court’s decision in United States v. Texas (announced on June 23, 2016), neither DAPA nor the expansion to DACA can be implemented. The original page explaining these programs is below, but please keep in mind that these programs appear unlikely to ever take effect. The original DACA program was unaffected by this ruling, and remains active.
Last fall, President Obama announced a series of executive actions he was planning which would address many shortcomings in current immigration policy. Today, USCIS has released some additional information about those plans.
When Can I Apply for DACA?
Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals is a program that has been in place for some time, but USCIS will be expanding the eligibility requirements, while also extending the period of employment authorization to three years (it was previously granted for only two years).
If you meet the current eligibility requirements for DACA, you can apply at any time. If you only meet the expanded eligibility requirements, you can send in your application any time after February 18, 2015.
Below are the expanded DACA requirements (old requirements are crossed out):
When Can I Apply for DAPA?
Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents is a brand new program, and extends the benefits of DACA to some immigrants who didn’t arrive as children. USCIS is indicating that it will accept DAPA applications starting sometime in May 2015. Eligibility requirements include:
There are a few other important changes in the works, including changes to the employment-based immigration process, but those have not been given even provisional enactment dates. However, the release did contain some new langauge on just what such changes might look like. From USCIS:
“USCIS will…Provide clarity on adjustment portability to remove unnecessary restrictions on natural career progression and general job mobility to provide relief to workers facing lengthy adjustment delays.”
This seems to confirm suspicions that EAD eligibility is likely to be introduced for employment-based permanent residence applicants who are stuck in a quota backlog. We will provide updates as soon as this is confirmed.