USCIS will soon accept applications for Deferred Action for Parental Accountability (DAPA)

On November 20, 2014, President Obama and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issued guidance which authorizes the grant of deferred action and employment authorization to certain Parents of US citizens and Lawful Permanent Residents (subject to the establishment of procedures for applications within 180 days).

Who Qualifies for DAPA?

In order to qualify under the program called Deferred Action for Parental Accountability (DAPA), an individual must:

  1. Be the parent of a U.S. citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident born on or before November 20, 2014;
  2. Be undocumented or overstayed a visa on or before November 20, 2014;
  3. Have continuously resided in the United States since January 1, 2010;
  4. Not be an enforcement priority, including (but not limited to) a national security or public safety threat as described in the November 20, 2014 memorandum, Policies for Apprehension, Detention and Removal of Undocumented Immigrants.

NOTE: The Department of Homeland Security is expected to issue further guidance for DAPA applicants in the coming months.

What Else Should I Know About Deferred Action?

Deferred Action is not permanent residence or U.S. citizenship, but rather a means by which eligible individuals may apply for employment authorization. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is not yet accepting applications and may not do so until May 19, 2015, which is 180 days after President Obama’s November 20, 2014 announcement and the Department of Homeland Security’s guidance.

Legal scholars mostly agree that the executive action is within the president’s power.

Beware of Scams!

It is recommended that individuals be wary of fraudulent legal advisors (known as “notarios”) when applying for deferred action. Notarios have no formal legal education or law license, they are not lawyers, and they cannot legally practice law or represent you. An immigrant’s case can be delayed by notarios acting in bad faith, resulting in penalties and even deportation.

» National Immigrant Youth Association (NIYA) – Important Warning for People Interested in Applying for the Deferred Action Program
» AILA – Consumer Advisory: Don’t Get Scammed! (English)
» AILA – Alerta al Consumar: ¡No se deje Engañar! (Spanish)

How Should I Prepare?

In order to minimize any unnecessary denials or delays, prepare as many identifying documents as possible. For example:

» List of recommended documents (PDF version available)
» Lista de documentos recomendados (español) (disponible en versión PDF)

For more information about Deferred Action for Parental Accountability (DAPA) or Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) or to consult with Foster attorneys about your eligibility, please call (713) 229-8733 or email