Deferred Action for Young People

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On June 15, the Department of Homeland Security announced a new policy that will stop the deportation of undocumented young people through Deferred Action and grant work authorization.

This policy recognizes the contributions, promise, and importance of undocumented young people, nearly 1 in 10 of whom are Asian American and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs). For over a decade, Korean American and AAPI undocumented youth have led the way in advocating for their right to an education and a future. This announcement is a tremendous step forward to ensure that young people do not have to live in fear of deportation and will get a chance to work.

"Today, I feel liberated from my fears at least temporarily. This policy change could allow me to better focus on my school work, provide for my family, and continue to fight for the DREAM Act and immigration reform."
– Ju Hong, an undocumented student and NAKASEC youth leader from Northern California
The information provided below should not be construed to be legal advice. Each individual case is different, and you should consult with a legal nonprofit organization or reputable attorney before proceeding.



Assistance with Application

KRC provides application assistance to only members. Please visit our membership page to sign up or call KRC((323) 937-3718) for more information.

New application from June 5, 2014

Get the new forms at the USCIS website.

New information from January 18, 2013

You can check out the new information at http:// (Enter DACA in the search option on the upper right hand corner)

What is deferred action?

Deferred action is a type of administrative relief from deportation that can be granted by DHS without the person necessarily having to go to immigration court. Deferred action allows an individual to stay and live in the U.S. for a temporary period without being at risk of deportation. It is granted on a case by case basis. Even if a person meets all requirements, they must still be approved by DHS. Deferred action does not grant legal status to the individual.

What will this policy do?
  • Provide a 2-year temporary relief from deportation for eligible young people who meet certain eligibility requirements. This two year period can be renewed, pending review of the individual’s case.
  • Allow eligible youth to apply for work authorization. The work authorization can also be renewed for a two year period, pending review.

What are the eligibility requirements?

To be eligible for deferred action, the individual must have:

  • Entered the U.S prior to June 15, 2007
  • Fall out of legal status (considered "undocumented") prior to June 15, 2012.
  • Entered the U.S. under the age of 16 and be 30 years old or younger. For people who have a final deportation order, USCIS will consider deferred action regardless of their age.
  • Continuously resided in the U.S. for a minimum of five consecutive years prior to June 15, 2012 and is currently present in the U.S. on June 15, 2012
  • Currently enrolled in school, have graduated from high school, obtained a general education development (GED) certificate, or honorably discharged veterans of the Coast Guard or the US Armed Forces (cont’d)
  • No record of a felony offense, a significant misdemeanor offense, multiple misdemeanor offenses, or otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety. DHS is still currently defining which misdemeanors are “significant.”

Age Requirement

I just turned 31 on June 15, 2012 when DHS made the announcement.

We will have to wait and see what USCIS says, but we do not think you will be eligible, unfortunately.

My daughter is in junior high school, 13 year-old. Can my daughter apply for ‘Deferred Action’?

Unless she is in removal proceedings or has been previously removed, she will have to wait until she is 15 years old to apply. If she is in removal proceedings, then she can apply right away regardless of her age.

Criminal Record

How do I find out if I have a criminal record?
  • If think you have a criminal record, you can submit your fingerprints to the California DOJ through their live scan procedure. You will have to fill out this form and take it to one of these locations. It usually takes a couple of weeks to get the results.
  • You can also try going to the court where you had your hearing and ask for a criminal disposition, but if you think it may be unresolved, then you should not go yourself, but send someone else to request it. In Los Angeles, you can go to the Criminal Courts Building at 210 W. Temple St., Room M-5 (2nd Fl), Los Angeles, CA 90012.
  • If your arrest was in another state, then you can submit your fingerprints to the FBI and request your record (takes 6 – 8 weeks). The instructions are here.
What is “significant” misdemeanor offense?

DHS has stated that a significant misdemeanor generally “is a federal, state, or local criminal offense punishable by no more than one year of imprisonment or even no imprisonment that involves: violence, threats, or assault, including domestic violence; sexual abuse or exploitation; burglary, larceny, or fraud; driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs; obstruction of justice or bribery; unlawful flight from arrest, prosecution, or the scene of an accident; unlawful possession or use of a firearm; drug distribution or trafficking; or unlawful possession of drugs.” If you think you have a criminal record, you must consult with an immigration attorney to see if you are eligible and what the risks are in applying for deferred action.

I once took one soda at the local market, and I was caught. The owner called the police, and the police took me to the police station. A few hours later, the police let me go home, and I did not serve any time jail. Is this going to be a problem applying to deferred action and work permit?

This should not be an issue because there was no conviction. Even if there was a conviction, usually, “petty theft” in California should not be considered “significant misdemeanor offense”. If you were under 18 at the time and charged as a juvenile, it would not even be considered a “conviction” for immigration purposes. You would have to disclose the arrest, but it should not stop you from getting deferred action/work permit. If you are not sure what happened or whether you have a record, see above – How do I find out if I have a criminal record?

I got caught by the police while I was driving without license. My car was towed, and I got a citation. I paid the fine. Would this be a problem to apply for the deferred action?

I don’t think this should be an issue. Although we do need to wait for DHS guidance, it appears that this would be considered just a citation and must be disclosed, but it should be not preclude relief.

If entered with a valid visa and then became undocumented

More than 10 years ago, my parents came to the U.S. with student visas, and I was their dependent child. I was under 16 years old. My parents’ student visas expired after 6 years and since then our family became undocumented. For four years we lived in the U.S. without documentation, and I am in my mid-20s. Even though I came to the U.S. with valid visa, but it expired before June 15, 2012, am I still eligible to apply for Deferred Action?

Yes, it should be fine that a person entered on a valid visa. Once the authorized stay is over, the visa holder becomes undocumented. The rest of his derivative family members who accompanied him also become undocumented, unless they changed their status to something else. There was an interesting opinion piece in the Washington Post which states that “45 percent of undocumented immigrants entered the United States legally with valid visas. Still, after someone overstays a visa, U.S. immigration law makes becoming a legal immigrant difficult.”

How do I apply?

If you are in deportation proceedings
Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is reviewing cases of people in deportation proceedings. If a case is identified as meeting eligibility requirements, ICE should offer the person deferred action. Shortly, ICE will announce a process for people to request a review of their case.
If you are not in deportation proceedings
You will be able to apply to US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for deferred action. USCIS is in the process of opening application process within 60 days of June 15, 2012 (by mid-August). This process will also be available to those who already have final removal orders.

Other Benefits

Can I get a Driver’s Licenses and/or State ID?

The driver’s license and state ID is different state by state, but in CA with a work permit, you can get a SSN, and then with a work permit and SSN, you can get a CA DL or ID. To get a SSN, the SSA sometimes wants another form of ID other than the work permit, so we should also instruct people to get their Korean passports renewed if they can. The Korean consulate does not care if you are undocumented, they will renew. Some people cannot do this because they have issues back in Korea and the consulate won’t renew them. If you have a translated birth record (호적 or 가족관계증명서 in both English and Korean), that is sometimes enough for SSA.

How do I get more information?

  • If you are in deportation proceedings, you can visit the ICE website at or call the ICE hotline at 1-888-351-4024 (9 a.m. - 5 p.m., English). Everyone else can visit USCIS’s website ( hrro:// ) or call the USCIS hotline at 1-800-375-5283 (8 a.m. - 8 p.m., English). Additional information is available from the website of the ICE Office of the Public Advocate.
  • To receive updates in Korean, please contact the Korean Resource Center (KRC) in Los Angeles at 323-937-3718 or visit or the Korean American Resource and Cultural Center (KRCC) in Chicago at 773-588-9158 or visit

What should I do in the interim to prepare for the process?

From APALC: Administrative Relief for Undocumented Youth: Frequently Asked Questions

You should start to gather information to support that you meet the eligibility requirements. This documentation should be sufficient to demonstrate the requirement.

  • Proof that you entered the United States under the age of 16 (passports, financial records, school records, medical records, military records, etc.);
  • Proof that you are presently in the United States and have resided for at least 5 years preceding June 15, 2012 (financial records, school records, medical records, military records, etc.);
  • Proof that you are currently in school or have graduated from high school, obtained a general education development certificate, or are an honorably discharged veteran of the Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the United States (diplomas, GED certificates, school records, report cards, transcripts, military personnel records, military health records, and separation forms, etc.)
On my passport I have my Korean name Kim Soon Ja, yet on my school records, I use the American name Sarah Kim. How can I proof both names are me?

I think many people will have this issue. You can submit anything that shows the two are the same person – like perhaps two separate documents that show the same birthdate, address, or photo. Also, you can submit declarations from yourself, friends, family, teachers, etc., who can attest to you using both names.

What are the expected processing times?

Regarding the processing time, deferred action and work permits can be processed as quickly as a couple months, but due to the large numbers and other eligibility requirements, it will likely be longer. Some other similar applications take 6 months to even a year. We will know better as DHS releases more information.

What if I lost my I-94 form?

Although lawful entry is not a requirement, you can proof your entry to the U.S. with other kinds of forms like your passport. You can also show that you were present in the U.S. through other documents, such as school records. Also, you can file an I-102 form to replace a lost I-94 (download form at, but there is a filing fee, and it is likely that you can show that you were here in the U.S. in other ways.

Renewal Applicants

Who Can Renew

You may request a renewal if you met the initial DACA guidelines and also:

Did not depart the United States on or after Aug. 15, 2012, without advance parole; Have continuously resided in the United States since you submitted your most recent DACA request that was approved; and Have not been convicted of a felony, a significant misdemeanor, or three or more misdemeanors, and do not otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety.

When to Renew

You should submit your renewal request about 120 days (4 months) before your current period of deferred action will expire. If you submit your request more than 150 days (5 months) before your current period expires, USCIS may reject it and return it to you with instructions to resubmit it closer to the expiration date.

this information was obtained from the USCIS website (

See also

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