Does age matter for DACA eligibility? Application Requirements

In this week's Consulta Migratoria® column I answer a question from a reader who wants to know how President Obama's recent executive action benefits DACA.

Each case is different and the answers vary depending on each person's immigration history.

Here I provide general answers to your questions. Please consult with an immigration attorney to receive personalized legal advice before starting any procedure.

My husband entered the United States when he was approximately 10 years old. He did not qualify for DACA when the program came out in 2012 because he was 32 years old. I have heard that with President Obama's new executive action there is now no age limit to apply for DACA. Is this true? -Ana T.

Ana, it is correct that with his executive action President Obama eliminated the age limit to apply for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. Previously, a person had to be under the age of 31.

This will give more immigrants the opportunity to apply and extends the period of deferred action and employment authorization to three years. Currently, the term of protection is two years.

The new requirements for filing a DACA application are as follows:

1. Arrived in the United States before the age of 16.

2. Have lived continuously in the U.S. from before January 1, 2010 to the present (previously the date was June 15, 2007).

3. Be physically present in the United States on June 15, 2012, and at the time of filing the DACA petition with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

4. No legal status on June 15, 2012.

5. Be currently in school, have graduated or obtained a certificate of completion from high school, have obtained a General Education Development (GED) Certificate, or be an honorably discharged veteran of the Coast Guard or U.S. Armed Forces.

6. Not have been convicted of a felony, significant misdemeanor, or three or more misdemeanors, and in no other way constitutes a threat to national security or public safety.

There are several crimes that are considered significant misdemeanors, including drunk driving.

USCIS will implement the new changes by February 2015, as it stipulated that it would be within approximately 90 days of the President's announcement on November 20, 2014.

These new requirements will also benefit immigrants who have DACA applications pending with USCIS.

When in doubt, consult with a licensed and experienced immigration attorney or federally accredited representative. Please do not visit notaries, immigration consultants, paper fillers or multi-service providers because these individuals are not authorized to give you legal advice.

Nelson A. Castillo, Esq. is an immigration attorney and author of La Tarjeta Verde: Cómo Obtener la Residencia Permanente en los Estados Unidos (Green Card: How to Obtain Permanent Residence in the United States). He is a past president of the Hispanic National Bar Association and current president of the Los Angeles Westlake South Neighborhood Council. To contact Mr. Castillo's office, please call (213) 537-VISA (8472).

The purpose of this column is to provide general information. No guarantees or predictions can be made as to what the outcome of the information presented by Dr. Nelson A. Castillo will be. The information should not be taken as legal advice for any individual, case or situation. Consult with an immigration attorney for personalized legal advice before beginning any immigration proceedings.