National Immigration Law Center
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Our mission is to defend & advance the rights & opportunities of low-income immigrants and their family members.

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)


NOTE: Some of the information available from this webpage may not reflect changes made to the DACA program when U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services updated its "Frequently Asked Questions" about DACA on June 15, 2015. To be notified about new DACA-related developments, subscribe to our "Immigration Issues" email list.


The Obama Administration’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals

President Obama announced on June 15, 2012, that the U.S. Dept. Homeland Security would not deport certain DREAM Act–eligible undocumented youth. Under a directive from the secretary of DHS, these youth will be given temporary relief called “deferred action.” More information is available in this FAQ created jointly by NILC and United We Dream.

This FAQ answers questions mainly about applying for DACA for the first time.

How to Show That an Educational Program in Which You Are Enrolled Is “Of Demonstrated Effectiveness”

When you apply for DACA, you may have to provide evidence that an educational program in which you are currently enrolled meets the "of demonstrated effectiveness" standard described in USCIS’s “Frequently Asked Questions” about eligibility for DACA. Submitting a filled-out “Demonstrated Effectiveness Questionnaire” with your DACA application can help you do this. You will need to fill out part of the questionnaire and get an administrator of your educational program to complete the rest of it and sign it. You and the school administrator should read the instructions before filling out the questionnaire.


Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Renewal Process

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has released a revised Form I-821D, the DACA application form, along with new application instructions. The instructions cover both applying for DACA for the first time and applying to renew DACA. These answers to frequently asked questions regarding the DACA renewal process are based on what we know so far. The information presented is intended primarily for people applying to renew DACA, and for legal service providers and organizers.

This FAQ answers questions mainly about applying to renew DACA.

Four Top Tips for When You Renew Your DACA

For those who currently have DACA, the date by which they need to apply to renew it and their employment authorization document (EAD) is quickly approaching. These are some tips to keep in mind when preparing to renew DACA.

Calculate When Would Be the Best Time to Submit Your DACA Renewal Application to USCIS

Are you planning to apply to renew your DACA and wondering when you should send your renewal application to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)? This handy calculator will help you decide.

Changes to USCIS’s ‘Frequently Asked Questions’ about DACA

On June 15, 2015, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) made changes to its “Frequently Asked Questions” (FAQ) about Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), which is published at The changes pertain to the DACA renewal process and are summarized in this issue brief.

Steps to Take if Your DACA Renewal Is Delayed (PDF)

If you have submitted your renewal application but are concerned because your DACA and work authorization have expired or will expire before your DACA is renewed, consider following the steps described in this publication to get information about your renewal application's status and, if appropriate, to ask U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services to process your renewal more quickly. (Coauthored by the Immigrant Legal Resource Center.)

After You Have DACA

Life After DACA 101

This guide and webinar explain some of the steps you may want to take after your DACA application is approved, including how to get a Social Security number, how to transfer ITIN to SSN, how you can travel with advance parole, getting a driver's license or ID, and renewing your DACA before it expires. (These two links take you to United We Dream's website. You can find other "life-with-DACA" resources in the Dream University section of UWD's website.)

  • Guide — Life After DACA 101
  • Webinar — Life After DACA 101: Essentials


Are Individuals Granted Deferred Action under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Policy Eligible for State Driver’s Licenses?

NILC continually reviews state policies that affect DACA recipients’ eligibility for driver’s licenses, focusing on whether DACA recipients fit within the current laws and policies governing issuance of licenses. This is a work in progress, which we are refining as the policies evolve.


Exclusion of People Granted “Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals” from Affordable Health Care

The Obama administration released two official policy announcements on August 28, 2012, that affect the eligibility for federal health care programs of individuals granted deferred action under the “deferred action for childhood arrivals” (DACA) request process.


DACA and Your Workplace Rights ( ENGLISH | SPANISH )

This FAQ is intended to answer your questions about DACA (the Obama administration’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program) and your workplace rights, and to provide information that may be helpful when you apply for and after you’ve been granted deferred action under DACA.


DACAmented and Undocumented Immigrants and the Obamacare Tax Penalty

The Affordable Care Act, the law that created Obamacare, requires most people in the United States to have health insurance, or claim an exemption from the requirement to have health insurance, or pay a penalty when they file their taxes. The Internal Revenue Service (the U.S.’s tax agency, which most people know as “the IRS”) calls this rule the “individual shared responsibility provision.” It is also sometimes called the “individual mandate.”

This FAQ answers questions about what DACAmented and undocumented immigrants should know about the Obamacare tax penalty rule when they file their taxes.

Taxes & DACA: What do I need to know?

A webinar, a guide, and other information about tax-related issues DACAmented people need to be aware of, especially when they go to file their income tax returns. (These links will take you to United We Dream's website.)


The resources available from our Access to Education webpage include the "Improving Access to Postsecondary Education for Immigrant Students" toolkit, which includes information about tuition equity (eligibility for "in-state" tuition), scholarships, and financial aid.

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals:
A Guide for Educators and School Support Staff

Published by the American Federation of Teachers and compiled by United We Dream’s DREAM Educational Empowerment Program (DEEP), Own the DREAM, NILC, and AFT.

Status Reports

DACA Is Three Years Old!

AUGUST 15, 2015 — DACA just turned three! We’ve done and learned a lot since U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) first began accepting DACA applications on August 15, 2012. And as we look ahead, we know there’s much more to be done.

Results from a Nationwide Survey of DACA Recipients Illustrate the Program’s Impact

JULY 9, 2015 — The National Immigration Law Center, the Center for American Progress, and Tom K. Wong of the University of California, San Diego, conducted a national survey to analyze the economic and educational outcomes of DACA recipients. The survey is part of a broader ongoing study by Wong called the Administrative Relief Impact and Implementation Study. The results add to a growing body of research that illustrates how DACA significantly affects recipients. A full 96 percent of respondents are currently employed or in school. Many are getting better, higher-paying jobs than they had before they received DACA. They are buying cars at high rates, and many are pursuing educational opportunities previously unavailable to them.

DACA Is Two Years Old Today!

AUGUST 15, 2014 — DACA has been a successful program and should be expanded to enable millions more people who live in the U.S. to fulfill their dreams. Between August 2012 and March 2014, 673,417 applications for DACA were filed and 553,197 were approved. We now have a better understanding of what happens when an immigrant group is provided with the ability to work and live in the U.S. without the fear of deportation. Sixty percent of respondents to a survey said they secured a new job after receiving DACA, 57 percent obtained a driver’s license, and 49 percent opened their first bank account.

Information & Resources from Partner Organizations


Background Information about Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals

Includes important documents related to the policy and program’s establishment: memorandums, letters, etc. Also includes links to recordings of a Migration Policy Institute event in which the director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services discusses the DACA request process and policies that USCIS announced to implement DACA.