USCIS will begin to accept Deferred Action (DREAM) applications on August 15, 2012


The Department of Homeland announced the procedure for young persons to file for deferred action as announced by the Obama administration on June 15, 2012. Filing will begin on August 15, 2012.

Young persons who are in removal (deportation) proceedings, as well as those who already have deportation (removal) orders, and those who have never been in removal proceedings will be able to mail in their applications, payment of $465 and supporting documents to USCIS to request consideration for deferred action.

The program has been recognized by several names: Dream Act, Deferred Action for Young Persons, and now Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. The USCIS brochure and flyer are below.

To qualify, you must submit evidence proving that:

  1. You were born after June 15, 1981;
  2. Arrived in the United States before the age of 16;
  3. Have continuously resided in the United States since June 15, 2007, up to the present time;
  4. Were present in the United States on June 15, 2012;
  5. Entered without inspection before June 15, 2012 or fell out of status as of June 15, 2012;
  6. Are currently in school, graduated or received a certificate of completion from high school, obtained a general educational development certificate (GED), or that you are an honorably discharged veteran of the Coast Guard or U.S. Armed Forces;
  7. Are at least 15 years of age now (or by time of filing), or if younger you are now in immigration court proceedings or have been previously;
  8. Have only had brief departures (or none at all) from the United States since June 15, 2007; AND
  9. Have not been convicted of a felony, significant misdemeanor, three or more other misdemeanors, and do not otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety.
  • Significant misdemeanor = domestic violence; sexual abuse or exploitation; burglary; unlawful possession or use of a firearm; drug distribution or trafficking; or, driving under the influence; or a crime for which the individual was sentenced to time in custody of more than 90 days. The sentence must involve time to be served in custody, and therefore does not include a suspended sentence.
  • What is not a significant misdemeanor and what will not lead to disqualification: A minor traffic offense (including driving without a license) will not be considered a misdemeanor for purposes of this process. So even if an applicant has 3 or more driving without a license convictions, that person may still qualify.
  • NOTE: Even though Driving Under the Influence (DUI) is a deemed a significant misdemeanor, USCIS has stated that "the decision whether to defer action in a particular case is an individualized, discretionary one that is made taking into account the totality of the circumstances. Therefore, the absence of the criminal history outlined above, or its presence, is not necessarily determinative, but is a factor to be considered in the unreviewable exercise of discretion." This means it is conceivable that a person with a negative conviction may still be able to qualify as criminal history is a factor that is considered.

Ricky Malik, Esq.