The USCIS has announced that applications will become available for those that meet the criterion set for the Dream Act. You may request consideration of deferred action for childhood arrivals if you meet all of the following:
- Were under the age of 31 as of June 15, 2012;
- Came to the United States before reaching your 16th birthday;
- Have continuously resided in the United States since June 15, 2007, up to the present time;
Brief, casual and innocent travel before August 15, 2012 will not affect the continuous residency requirement. Extended travel or travel as a result of an order of removal or deportation will affect the continuous residency requirement. You should not travel after August 15, 2012, while your deferred action application is under review.
4. Were physically present in the United States on June 15, 2012, and at the time of making your request for consideration of deferred action with USCIS;
5. Entered without inspection before June 15, 2012, or your lawful immigration status expired as of June 15, 2012;
6. Are currently in school, have graduated or obtained a certificate of completion from high school, have obtained a general education development (GED) certificate, or are an honorably discharged veteran of the Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the United States; and
7. 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.
For purposes of this process, the USCIS defines a non-significant misdemeanor as any misdemeanor as defined by federal law (specifically, one for which the maximum term of imprisonment authorized is one year or less but greater than five days) and that meets the following criteria:
- Is not an offense of domestic violence; sexual abuse or exploitation; burglary; unlawful possession or use of a firearm; drug distribution or trafficking; or, driving under the influence; and
- Is one for which the individual was sentenced to time in custody of 90 days or less.
A minor traffic offense, such as driving without a license will not be considered a misdemeanor for purposes of this process. However, your entire offense history can be considered along with any other facts to determine whether, under the totality of the circumstances, you warrant an exercise of prosecutorial discretion.
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What immigration advantages can you get due to the DREAM Act?
The Dream Act permits you to get a form of relief described as “Deferred Action”, which basically gives you two valuable benefits:
1. The Dream Act prevents your deportation. This Dream Act relief is for a provisional, two-year period. Following the two-year period, most probably, you could reapply for or otherwise extend the Dream Act deportation relief.
2. The Dream Act will allow you to get a work permit “known as an Employment Authorization Card”. The work permit, through the Dream Act, would allow you to acquire a social security number and apply for a driver’s license.
What the DREAM Act is NOT
• The Dream Act is NOT a green card or a path to a green card
• The Dream Act is NOT U.S. citizenship and doesn’t lead to citizenship
• The Dream Act will not allow you to travel outside of the United States
Where can I get the dream act form/application?
The form is I-821D, Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals and it can be downloaded from USCIS FORMS starting August 15, 2012