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Who is Eligible to Obtain the Deferred Action Benefits?

Deferred action is nothing but the temporary deferral of deportation based on the Dream Act. An undocumented immigrant, whose deportation is deferred will be allowed to remain in the United States for a two-year period but no lawful status will be granted.

Individuals who receive deferred action may work in the United States by obtaining employment authorization which will also be valid for two years. Obtaining and filing Form I-821, is the first step that must be taken by a person who looks forward to receive deferred action. Remember that your dependent(s) may not be liable for any deferred action benefit, if you receive deferred action.

To receive the deferred action benefits, you must be an undocumented immigrant who came to the United States before age 16. You may apply to receive deferred action only if you are between 16 and 31 years of age. Continuous and permanent residence requirements must be satisfied and you must establish that you had resided in the United States for the past five years and that you were present in the United States on June 15th, 2012.

A person who was smuggled into the United States at a very young age or a person who is in an unlawful status alone is eligible to request deferred action. It is hence mandatory to prove that you came to America without inspection or you must prove that you entered the country legally with a visa but you had overstayed that visa and you are currently in unlawful status. Such undocumented immigrants who believe that they are eligible to receive deferred action must either be in school or must be university graduates. An honorably discharged veteran is also eligible to receive the deferred action benefits.

If you are an undocumented immigrant in the United States who was never encountered by the US immigration officials, you must be above age 15, to file an application to request deferred action. A person below age 15, will be allowed to file Form I-821D, to request deferred action if he is presently in removal proceedings or with a voluntary departure order. Apart from meeting the above criteria, you must be a person who was never convicted of crimes. Three or more misdemeanors will make you ineligible to request deferred action. Applications filed by undocumented immigrants who are found to have been involved in criminal activities will be rejected based on security grounds.

If you are currently in removal proceedings or if you have a deportation order, you may still file Form I-821D to request deferred action as long as you are not in immigration detention. If you are in immigration detention, a request for deferred action must be made through the ICE. If you are found to be eligible to receive deferred action, your deportation will be deferred for a period of two years. If you receive deferred action and if you choose to remain in the United States for a longer period, you may request deferred action renewal along with employment authorization. There is no age limit to renew deferred action and you may file a petition to renew deferred action, even if you are above age 31.

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