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Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)

What is "Deferred Action" (DACA)?

"Deferred Action" or DACA is Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. It allows some immigrants who came to the US as children to stay in the U.S. and get a work permit. To get Deferred Action, you must fill out an application. Deferred Action lasts two years. After two years, you may be able to apply again and get more time.

Can I Apply for Deferred Action (DACA)?

Only some immigrants can apply for Deferred Action. You can apply for Deferred Action today if you answer “yes” to five questions:

  1. Are you between the ages of 15 - 31?
  2. Did you come to the U.S. before you were 16 years old?
  3. Were you here in the U.S. on June 15, 2012?
  4. Have you lived in the U.S. since June 15, 2007?
  5. Have you graduated from high school, gotten a GED, or are you currently in school or an honorably discharged veteran?


If you have ever

you will probably not be able to get Deferred Action.

If you have a criminal history…

…you may still be able to apply. See I have a criminal history. Can I get Deferred Action (DACA)?

If you were ever in the process of being removed…

…you may still be able to apply. See I have been in removal proceedings. Can I get Deferred Action (DACA)?


  • You cannot get Deferred Action if you leave the country while you are applying.

    If you want to leave the US after you get Deferred Action, you must get advance parole. If you do not have advance parole and you leave the country, you will lose your Deferred Action.

  • You can lose your Deferred Action if you get convicted of a felony, significant misdemeanor, 3 or more misdemeanors, or if you pose a threat to national security or public safety.
  • Make sure that anyone who helps you with your Deferred Action application is an Immigration Specialist. There are many people who say they can help, but only trust an immigration specialist.
Produced by Massachusetts Law Reform Institute
Created August 22, 2012