On February 18, 2015, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will begin accepting requests for expanded Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). The change means USCIS has made DACA status available to more people and increased the benefits of the program. In the following months of 2015, USCIS will introduce other new programs and expansions that will benefit spouses, parents, and children of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents. A NY immigration attorney should be consulted to determine who is eligible, whether and how to apply.
Expanded DACA means that USCIS will open the program to individuals of any age who entered the U.S. before the age of 16 and lived in the U.S. continuously since January 1, 2010. The period of DACA and work authorization will be extended from two years to three years. Previously, DACA was only open to individuals under the age of 31 on June 15, 2012 who were 15 or older at the time of applying.
The process differs depending on whether an individual is applying for DACA for the first time or requesting a renewal. An individual who is renewing should submit a renewal request about 120 days (four months) before the current period of deferred action expires. If the request is submitted more than five months before the current period expires, USCIS may reject it.
Expanded DACA has kept the requirement that an applying individual must currently be in school, have graduated or obtained a certificate of completion from high school, have obtained a general education development (GED) certificate, or be an honorably discharged veteran of the Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the United States. Expanded DACA has also kept the requirement that an applying individual must not have been convicted of a felony, significant misdemeanor, or three or more other misdemeanors, or otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety. For more information please feel free to contact one of our NY Immigration Attorneys.
In mid to late May 2015, USCIS will begin a new program called Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA). Parents of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents who pass required background checks and have lived in the U.S. continuously since January 1, 2010 may request deferred action and employment authorization for three years. DAPA requests are considered on a case-by-case basis. A parent must not be an enforcement priority from removal from the U.S.
Upon the issuance of new regulations and guidelines, USCIS will expand the use of provisional waivers of unlawful presence to include the children of U.S. citizens and the spouse or children of lawful permanent residents. An individual is eligible if he or she is an undocumented immigrant who has resided unlawfully in the U.S. for at least 180 days and is a child of a U.S. citizen or a spouse or child of a lawful permanent resident. This program is an expansion of the provisional waiver program announced in 2013. USCIS will update information on Provisional Unlawful Presence Waivers in the early months of 2015.
Upon the issuance of new regulations and guidelines, USCIS will improve and clarify immigrant and nonimmigrant visa programs. These efforts focus on job creation and strengthening of the economy. They will target U.S. businesses, foreign investors, researchers, inventors and skilled foreign workers.
At some point in 2015, USCIS will allow naturalization applicants to use credit cards to pay the application fee. Also in 2015, USCIS will promote citizenship education and public awareness for lawful permanent residents.
Feiner & Lavy, Attorneys at Law, offer representation in immigration and criminal immigration matters. For help applying for expanded DACA and other new programs, contact one of our NY City immigration attorneys at Feiner & Lavy, P.C. Attorneys at Law by calling: (212) 571-9200.