If you are in the U.S. without legal documentation but have extenuating circumstances, you may qualify for Deferred Action status, which would allow you to stay without fear of deportation for a certain time.
This program includes the well-known DACA program, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, But DACA is available only to individuals who arrived in the United States as children under certain circumstances.
Deferred action is a discretionary act that traditionally was granted through the recommendation of the District Director.
People with Deferred Action status can remain in the United States without fear of being deported for up to two years. This status can be renewed. Deferred Action does not provide a path to permanent residence or citizenship. However, it does allow individuals who have been approved for the program to apply for employment authorization.
This is available for anyone to apply, taking into consideration the following factors:
- the likelihood of removal
- the presence of sympathetic factors
- the likelihood that a large amount of adverse publicity will be generated because of the sympathetic factors
- whether the individual is a member of a class of deportable aliens whose removal has been given high enforcement priority
Some examples of sympathetic factors include the illness of a family member or applicant, special family circumstances such as needing to care for a child with a disability, or dangerous conditions in an applicant’s home country.
Does Deferred Action grant citizenship?
No. Deferred Action does not grant citizenship, but those who have been approved can still apply for permanent residence or citizenship.
Can I work if I have been granted Deferred Action status?
Yes. Those who have Deferred Action status can apply for employment authorization.
What is the process for getting Deferred Action?
You will need to send a detailed letter to USCIS requesting the relief with accommodations. You will need to provide as much information as possible about your situation and the reasons you believe you qualify for Deferred Action.
How long does Deferred Action status last?
Deferred Action status is granted for two years. However, you can apply for renewal.
Who qualifies for this program?
Eligibility is determined on a case-by-case basis depending on the compelling factors. Since deferred action is discretionary, the factors should be closely reviewed and assessed by an immigration attorney.
Attorney Nancy Norman has worked with several individuals to apply for Deferred Action status. For more information or to set up an appointment, please contact our office.