Seguritan US Immigration Articles

Travel Guidelines for DACA Applicants

More than 407,000 requests have been received by the USCIS since the deferred action program for childhood arrivals (DACA) was implemented on August 15, 2012. As of January 17, 2013, over 371,000 biometric appointments have been scheduled, 154,404 requests approved and more than 13,000 applications rejected. About 142,000 applications are currently under review.

Mexico leads the top ten countries of origin of childhood arrivals that filed for deferred action (290,019), followed by El Salvador (16,824), Honduras (10,882), Guatemala (9,904), Peru (5,974), South Korea (5,354), Brazil (5,098), Colombia (4,503), Ecuador (4,386) and the Philippines (3,019).

California is the state of residence of the highest number of the applicants (110,230), followed by Texas (63,455) and New York (23,389). The other states included are: Illinois, Florida, North Carolina, Arizona, Georgia, New Jersey and Colorado.

The USCIS recently released guidelines clarifying a number of issues on policy and procedure including questions on brief departures and travels outside the U.S. The guidelines state that the continuous residence from June 15, 2007 will not be interrupted if the absence from the U.S. on or after June 15, 2007 and before August 15, 2012 was brief, casual and innocent.

The guidelines further clarified that in order to be considered brief, casual and innocent, the absence must be short and reasonably calculated to accomplish the purpose for the absence. Activities outside the U.S. must not be contrary to law.

Absence from the U.S. because of an order of exclusion, deportation or removal will interrupt continuous residence. Similarly, absence resulting from an order of voluntary departure or an administrative grant of voluntary departure before being placed in exclusion, deportation or removal proceedings will also disrupt continuity of residence.

Travels outside the U.S. made after August 15, 2012 will result in a denial of the application. The applicant must remain in the U.S. while the application is under review. Once the USCIS has approved the request for deferred action, the applicant may apply for advance parole in order to travel outside the U.S. The application for advance parole is Form I-131 and the filing fee is $360. Applicants may not file for advance parole until the Department of Homeland Security decides the application for deferred action.

Advance parole will generally be granted only for humanitarian, educational and employment purposes. Medical treatment, academic research and employment are valid basis for advance parole but travel for vacation is not.

When there is already an order of deportation or removal and the USCIS approves the applicant’s request for deferred action, the applicant may still request advance parole if he wishes to travel outside the U.S. However, the applicant must make sure to reopen his/her case before the Executive Office for Immigration Review and have the proceedings terminated, otherwise, he may be considered deported or removed.

The updated guidelines also clarified that an individual who left the U.S. for some period of time before he turned 16 and returned to establish residence in the U.S. may still be considered for deferred action. He must, however, demonstrate that he established residence in the U.S. before his 16th birthday and that he meets the continuous residence requirement from June 15, 2007 until the present.

10,000 DACA Applications Rejected

More than 53,000 young immigrants have been spared from possible deportation since President Obama’s deferred action program for childhood arrivals (DACA) began about three months ago. Between August 15 and November 15, 2012, over 308,000 requests for deferred have been received by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), which translates to about 4,800 requests filed per day.

More than 120,000 requests are under review and many more are in the pipeline as 273,000 cases are scheduled for biometrics. Over 10,000 applications have been rejected.

Mexico is the country of origin of a great majority of the applicants (212,514 applications), followed by El Salvador (13,769), Honduras (8,577), Guatemala (7,630) and Peru (5,052). South Korea (4,880), Brazil (4,345), Colombia (3,856), Ecuador (3,737) and the Philippines (2,613) round up the top ten countries of origin of the childhood arrivals that filed for deferred action.

The top three states of residence of the applicants are California (81,858), Texas (47,727) and New York (19,320). The other states on the list are: Florida, Illinois, North Carolina, Arizona, New Jersey, Georgia and Virginia.

With President Obama’s reelection many are confident that the program will continue. A surge in the applications is very likely with more DREAMers coming out and applying for deferred action.

It is important to make sure that a DACA request is filed correctly in order to avoid delay or rejection.

In the Filing Tips recently released by the USCIS, the agency reminds everyone that small mistakes could lead to rejection of the application.

Applicants must send all forms in the same package. Form I-821D, I-765 and I-765WS must be mailed together to the correct address found in the instructions. The package must be mailed since electronic filing is not available.

The package must be accompanied by the filing fee of $465, which can be in a single check or in two separate checks of $380 and $85.

Applicants must make sure that they use the most recent versions of the forms. The USCIS reminds that all forms are available on its website for free. Also, Form I-821D should not be confused with Form I-821 which is an entirely different form.

Applicants must review age guidelines before filing. Applicants must generally be at least 15 years old at the time of filing, and cannot be 31 years or older as of June 15, 2012.

The applicant must remember to put the same name on all the forms because changes in the way the information is written can result in delays. The I-821D and I-765 forms must be signed by the applicant. If the applicant was assisted by another person, that person must also sign both forms.

All questions must be answered completely and accurately. If an item is not applicable or if the answer is “none”, the space may be left blank. However, fields asking for dates must be answered, especially those on the I-821D asking for dates and places of entry. If one cannot remember the exact place or date, the closest approximation must be provided.

Supporting documents and evidence help the USCIS make a decision on the rquest so they must in all cases be submitted with the forms. It will be helpful to the reviewing officer if the evidence is organized and labeled according to the guideline that it meets.

To establish economic need for the employment authorization, the applicant must indicate his or her personal current annual income, annual expenses and value of assets. There is no need to submit supporting documentation to prove economic necessity. Financial information of other household members is not included.

The USCIS prefers that applicants complete the form on the computer and then printed, instead of being filled out by hand. Black ink must be used if the form is filled out by hand and correction tape or “white-out” fluid must be avoided because scanners can see through it and cause the form to be processed as incorrect.

Scroll To Top