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DACA Filings/Approvals Soar After Election; USCIS Releases Guidance for Employers, Filing Tips


Following the results of the presidential election, the Obama administration released statistics (PDF) showing that 53,273 undocumented persons have received relief as of November 15, 2012, under the deferred action for childhood arrivals (DACA) program (PDF). U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has received more than 300,000 such requests, of which the largest number by far are from Mexicans (212,514). The Immigration Policy Center estimates that approximately 1.8 million persons may be eligible.

USCIS noted that filing a request for consideration of deferred action for childhood arrivals involves several steps. You need to submit multiple forms, evidence and fees. Small mistakes in preparing your request could lead to it being rejected. USCIS released the following tips below to help avoid having your request rejected or delayed because of common filing errors:

  1. Mail all forms together – You must mail the following forms in one package:
  1. Form I-821D, Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals
  2. Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization
  3. Form I-765WS, Worksheet
  4. Read the mailing instructions to see where to mail the forms based on the state you live in. Remember to send it to the P.O. Box address if mailing through the U.S. Postal Service. All forms are available on www.uscis.gov for free. Do not pay for blank USCIS forms either in person or over the Internet.
  • Carefully review age guidelines before filing – If you have never been in removal proceedings, or your proceedings have been terminated, you must be at least 15 years of age or older at the time of filing. You cannot be 31 or older as of June 15, 2012, to be considered for deferred action for childhood arrivals.
  • Write your name and date of birth the same way on each form – Variations in the way information is written can cause delays. For example, you should not write Jane Doe on one form and Jane E. Doe on another form. It is important to read all instructions on the forms carefully.
  • Sign your forms – You must sign both your Form I-821D and Form I-765. If someone helps you fill out the forms, that person must also sign both Form I-812D and Form I-765 in the designated box below your signature.
  • Use the correct version of Form I-765 – Always make sure you have the most recent form when submitting your request with USCIS. Review the USCIS Forms page to download the most recent version. You can download all USCIS forms and instructions for free at http://www.uscis.gov.
  • Use Form I-821D NOT Form I-821 – Form I-821D is used to request consideration of deferred action for childhood arrivals. Form I-821 is a different form used to apply for Temporary Protected Status, an entirely different process.
  • Do NOT e-file Form I-765 – Requests for consideration of deferred action cannot be e-filed. You must mail your package (Forms I-821D, I-765, I-765WS, evidence and fees) to the appropriate USCIS Lockbox.
  • Submit correct fees – The fee to request consideration of deferred action for childhood arrivals is $465 and cannot be waived. There are fee exemptions available only in limited circumstances. You may submit separate checks of $380 and $85, or one single check of $465.
  • Answer all questions completely and accurately – If an item is not applicable or the answer is “none,” leave the space blank. But do not leave date fields blank. See Tip #11, below. To ensure your request is accepted for processing, be sure to complete these required form fields:
    1. Form I-821D: Name, Address, Date of Birth
    2. Form I-765: Name, Address, Date of Birth, Eligibility Category
  • Provide all required supporting documentation and evidence –You must submit all required evidence and supporting documentation. These documents are required for USCIS to make a decision on your request. Please organize and label your evidence by the guideline it meets. USCIS may issue a request for evidence if additional information is needed to make a decision on your request.
  • Do not leave date or place of entry responses blank – You must fill in all fields related to dates and places of entry on Form I-821D. You may fill in your closest approximation of the date or place of entry if you do not know the exact information. You must enter dates in MM/DD/YYYY format. 
  • Personal information to prove economic need – USCIS will consider whether you have an economic need to work by reviewing your personal current annual income, current annual expenses, and the current value of your assets. You do not need to include other household member’s financial information to establish your own economic necessity. It is not necessary to submit supporting documentation, though it will be accepted and reviewed if you choose to submit it. 
  • If you make an error on a form, start over with a clean form – USCIS prefers that you type your answers into the form and then print it. If you are filling out your form by hand, use black ink. If you make a mistake, please start over with a new form. Scanners will see through white out or correction tape and this could lead to the form being processed as incorrect, and lead to processing delays or denial.
  • Review your entire request package – To ensure that your request is accepted for processing, it is important that you review your entire request package before you file with USCIS.
  • For more information on consideration of deferred action for childhood arrivals, visit www.uscis.gov/childhoodarrivals. If you have questions about filing a request, please call USCIS at 1-800-375-5283.

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