Frequently Asked Questions


No. The DREAM Act is a bill that has not been passed. If it were to become a law, the DREAM Act would provide a pathway to citizenship for young immigrants. The new deferred action policy is not a law and does not provide a pathway to citizenship.


The Department of Homeland Security has said that “brief and innocent absences undertaken for humanitarian purposes” will not make a person ineligible for deferred action status as long as those absences were before August 15, 2012. Absences after August 15, 2012 will make a person ineligible for deferred action.

If you entered the United States illegally, you are still eligible to apply for deferred action as long as you satisfy the eligibility requirements. The way in which you entered the country does not affect your eligibility.

If you have been deported from the United States previously, you are still eligible to apply for deferred action as long as you meet the eligibility requirements.

The Immigrant Legal Resource Center has put together a great resource that goes through the criminal disqualifications for deferred action and what records you should get before submitting an application. To review the resource, click here.

The Process

USCIS will begin to accept applications on August 15, 2012. You can download the application forms and instructions here.

It is unknown at this time.

The process will cost $465 for both deferred action and work authorization.

The Department of Homeland Security has stated that, even if an application is denied, an applicant should not be referred for deportation unless they have a criminal history or there is evidence of fraud in their application.

There will not be an appeals process for deferred action decisions.

Typically, you must present yourself at a local immigration office to have your photo and fingerprints taken. Your information will be checked against a variety of databases maintained by the Department of Homeland Security and other federal government agencies.

Fee waivers may be available under a limited number of circumstances. Individuals who are under 18 years of age, homeless, in foster care, with an income below 150% of the poverty line, who suffer from chronic disability, or have at least $25,000 in debt as a result of medical expenses incurred within the last 12 months MAY be eligible for a fee waiver. Waivers must be requested through a separate process before applying for deferred action.

No. If you are granted deferred action status and want to travel outside of the United States, you must apply for advance parole by filing I-131 and paying a fee of $360. Generally, advance parole is only granted to individuals needing to travel for humanitarian, educational, or employment reasons.

Finding Legal Assistance

There are many ways to find free legal assistance for your deferred action application status. The best way to find someone you can trust is to contact a local immigration nonprofit organization and ask them if they offer these services or can refer you to another organization/private attorney that they recommend.