Two key elements of the President’s executive action are the expansion of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program and the announcement of a new Deferred Action for Parental Accountability (DAPA) program that extends deferred action and employment authorization benefits to qualifying parents of qualifying U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents.

DACA Expansion

Under the DACA expansion, qualifying applicants may be of any age, so long as they were originally brought to the United States as children under the age of 16. The previous version of DACA limited benefits to those applicants who were between the ages of 15 and 30. This means that individuals who were not eligible for DACA originally may now qualify. It also means that individuals who previously qualified for DACA benefits but would have subsequently “aged out” of eligibility will be eligible to apply for renewal of DACA benefits.

The expanded DACA program also extends benefits to those who have resided continuously in the United States since 01/02/2010, later than the previous program date of June 15, 2007. This extends DACA benefits to individuals who arrived in the United States later than the original DACA recipients.

The CIS is not yet accepting applications under the expanded DACA program. The CIS estimates that the agency will be prepared to accept applications approximately 90 days following the President’s announcement of November 20, 2014, or around mid-February 2015.

Because certain offenses will disqualify applicants from eligibility, applicants who are currently in removal proceedings, or who have an arrest, criminal charge, conviction, deportation order, or voluntary departure order, should contact qualified immigration counsel prior to applying for DACA benefits. To schedule a consultation with a Foster LLP immigration attorney, please visit our firm’s website at www.fosterglobal.com.

New DAPA Program

                The new Deferred Action for Parental Accountability (DAPA) program is designed to extend benefits to the parents of U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident children.  Most parents of current or future DACA recipients will not be eligible unless they also have a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident child.  To qualify for DAPA, applicants must have been in the United States since January 1, 2010, and must register, submit biometric data (digital fingerprints and photographs), pass background checks, pay fees, and show that their child was born on or before November 20, 2014.

The CIS is not yet accepting applications under the new DAPA program. The CIS estimates that the agency will be prepared to accept applications approximately 180 days following the President’s announcement of November 20, 2014, or around mid-May 2015.

Because certain offenses will disqualify applicants from eligibility, applicants who are currently in removal proceedings, or who have an arrest, criminal charge, conviction, deportation order, or voluntary departure order, should contact qualified immigration counsel prior to applying for DAPA benefits. To schedule a consultation with a Foster LLP immigration attorney, please visit our firm’s website at www.fosterglobal.com.

Prepare Now for DACA Application in February or DAPA Application in May

                Although the precise date for new DACA and DAPA filings has not yet been published, there are certain steps that potential applicants can take at this time.  Foster LLP recommends beginning now to collect applicable documentation of identity, residence, and relationship to the qualifying child (if applicable).  Because a significant volume of applications is expected, Foster aims to work with clients during this preliminary period to ensure that clients are able to file their applications as soon as practicable once the CIS begins accepting applications.  Filing early during the filing period may reduce the wait time for issuance of an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) card.  Applicants are encouraged to contact their Foster immigration attorney now to begin preparing for the application filing.