Skip to main content

What is DACA?

Immigration Laws & Rights

This article will explain what DACA is. DACA stands for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.

Learn more about what the DACA program is, the current state of the program, and how you can apply for it. 

Special thanks to the Equal Justice Center for their contribution to this article. 

What is DACA?

DACA stands for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. DACA is an administrative relief from deportation which protects eligible immigrants who came to the United States when they were children. 

When was it created and for whom?

 On June 15, 2012, the Secretary of Homeland Security announced that certain people who came to the United States as children and meet several key guidelines could request consideration of deferred action for a period of two years, subject to renewal, and would then be eligible for work authorization. Individuals who could demonstrate through verifiable documentation that they meet these guidelines were considered for deferred action.  

What is the current state of the DACA program?

The DACA final rule takes effect on Oct. 31, 2022. What this means is that presently, those who currently have DACA or had it within the last year can file for renewals of their DACA and work permits. The federal government is currently accepting, but not granting or even processing, applications from first-time applicants and anyone whose DACA expired more than one year ago. They are also treating renewal applications from DACA recipients whose previous DACA grant expired more than one year ago as first-time DACA applications, which it cannot decide on under the Texas court’s decision that has now been affirmed by the Fifth Circuit. Advance parole eligibility remains the same for current DACA holders. It is critical that Congress take steps to provide a permanent legislative solution now. 

Visit the National Immigration Law Center for more information on the current state of DACA as well as the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration services website.  

How do I renew my DACA?

USCIS is accepting DACA renewal applications for individuals who currently have DACA or have ever had DACA in the past. 

  • You may be able to apply early for your renewal!  USCIS is accepting DACA renewal applications filed more than six months before the applicant's current DACA expiration date. 
  • It is unclear how long USCIS will continue to accept DACA renewal applications.  We encourage anyone who may be eligible to renew to seek assistance as soon as possible.  

I've never had DACA before. Can I apply now?

USCIS is not accepting initial DACA applications for individuals who have never had DACA before, but may do so in the near future.  It is possible that the government may begin accepting initial DACA applications again as a result of current litigation.  

You can prepare by gathering documents that evidence that: 

  • you have been living in the U.S. since at least June 15, 2007
  • you arrived in the U.S. before your 16th birthday
  • you have graduated from high school in the U.S., received your GED, or are currently in school.

Please beware of notarios and always seek assistance from a reputable immigration attorney or BIA accredited representative. 

Related Guides

  • What rights do immigrants have to an education?

    Individual Rights

    This guide can provide you with useful information about the rights immigrants have to an education.
  • Related Articles