FAQ

If you have a question about filing for a work permit and deferred action for childhood arrivals, the complex questions have been answered throughout the website and I strongly encourage you to either follow the links or do a search in the search bar on the right.  Some of the most frequently answered questions that are simple and straightforward are below.  If you still have questions, please use the form on the right to email me for a free reply.

What is the latest status of DACA program?

On September 5th 2017, DACA program is being phased out and if your EAD expires prior to March 5, 2018 and you file the paperwork to renew it before October 5, 2017, you will lose your status on the date of the expiration of your EAD.  From that point onward, you will be unable to legally work or study in the United States and will be eligible for deportation.  If Congress passes an amnesty, details will be provided on this page.

Where do I get the application?

I suggest that you simply download the forms from the USCIS website.  My recommendation would be to fill the forms online, print them on a decent printer (in black and white), and then mail them.  If you do not have a computer or printer available, try the local library.  Also many stores like Office Depot, OfficeMax, etc. have computers and printers available for a very small charge.  If for any reason you insist on filling the forms by hand, write clearly in black ink, and if your handwriting is not the best, you can ask someone else with a good hand to fill it for you, but you must sign all the applications yourself.


-->
Where do I turn in the paperwork?

Complete the application package, along with all the supporting documents (do not send originals and do not try to black out or hide account numbers or any other information because the USCIS may need that information to validate its authenticity).  Make a copy of everything that you send so that you will know exactly what you mailed to USCIS (I suggest creating a folder for this process and neatly organize your papers so that they are easily accessible; and never destroy this folder, at least not till you become a US citizen because you want to maintain all the information consistent at each stage of the immigration process).  While not needed, it is a always a good idea to put a cover sheet (there is no need for a cover letter) with a list of everything that is in the application.  This checklist is good for you to make sure that everything that you are supposed to send is there and then the staff at the processing center can confirm that you have provided everything.  The application needs to be mailed to one of the addresses listed below based on the state in which you currently live and the one that is provided on your application.  Visit a post office, ask the staff to weigh the letter and put the right postage.  While sending by ordinary First Class mail is fine, I like the tracking feature available from the USPS for a very small fee.
x
Addresses for mailing dreamers application to INS


Will the USCIS refund the fees if the application is rejected?
No.

How to answer if I entered with a different name?  Or if I entered using another individual's identity papers, like passport and/or visa?

Please consult an attorney.  This is a very serious crime. 

What if my name has changed since I first entered the country?

In case you changed your name after marriage or for any other legally allowable reason, then, you should attach a copy of your legal name change document.

Should I report personal income or household income?

Personal income.  In other words, if you do not work or have no other sources of income like interest from bank accounts or regular payments made to you by a family member, your income is zero.  This would be the case for minor children, housewives, and students.

How to pay the fees?  Under whose name should I buy the money order?

U.S. Department of Homeland Security

What documentation is required to apply for work permit?

This is a long list and is available on the USCIS website.  However, remember that you should provide documentation for every claim that you are making.  Do not send excess documentation, but if in doubt, better to send it than not.

Is it faster to do paperwork through an attorney rather than yourself?

No.  The attorneys do not have a separate line.  They just complete the application for you and mail it to the USCIS.  Actually, because attorneys are often overworked and rely on staff (who are not attorneys at all), they actually take a lot longer to do your paperwork, make mistakes, forget things, and can even give you wrong advice.  The only advantage of (good) attorneys is that if your case is complex, you will get solid legal advice, your paperwork will be done according to the instructions, and because they have experience in such matters, they know what you can get away with and what does not work.  Attorneys can also help you with looking into long term implications of doing or not doing something because what may appear like a harmless detail for one application can kill your chances for legal immigration forever.  If your application hits a snag, an attorney will typically provide support without any additional fee and will be available to deal with it (e.g. if you get hit with a RFE, the law firm will prepare the response).  Attorneys also typically charge more and give you a harder time if you want to hire them after filing the paperwork yourself.  Obviously, notaries or para-legals or law school students or volunteers are not attorneys because you do not have an attorney-client relationship with them and some of them are merely trying to make a fast buck.  In some cases, law students, professors or attorneys providing free advice as part of a charity, might provide good advice but still due to lack of an attorney-client relationship, you are less protected.

I know all the addresses at which I have lived here in the US, but I don't know the exact dates. What do I do?

Do you know the approximate dates?  For example, instead of 1/1/2005 do you know if it was January 2005.  Write the best you can because it is understandable that if you switched homes 10 years ago you would not really remember if it was Jan 1 or Jan 11.  If you do not even know the months, but only the year (or maybe not even the years), then write down in the additional notes with an explanation as to why you do not know (e.g. you were too young at the time and your parents have simply forgotten).

Is the matricula consular a national ID acceptable in the USA for identification purposes?

If you don't have a valid passport, please try to see if you get one, because that is the universally acceptable document (and will definitely make life easy for DREAMers as they pursue legal immigration status).  If not, bring the matricula consular and whatever other IDs you have to your ASC appointment (show just the matricula consular and keep the others in your bag in case they give you a hard time).

What should I do if I am married but do not have an ID with my new last name?

You better have a current passport (or equivalent document) to prove that you plan to use your last name going forward.  If your ID is with your maiden name but you have legally changed your name, you should provide a copy of your marriage certificate and name change certificate and explain the difference in the notes and at ASC appointment you can tell the officer that you have not changed your ID yet.  If you have only married and not changed your legal name yet, and your ID shows only your maiden name, you should stick to your maiden name in the application.  The approval will simply have your maiden name but if you decide to change your legal name later, at the time of renewal of DACA or filing for green card, you can submit new documents and get an updated card.  The thing to remember is that you always want to have consistency in your documentation from your native country and those from the US.  It causes less confusion for everyone.  For example, you simply do not want an EAD and passport with different names; most likely you will be able to deal with immigration agencies without much trouble but there will be additional questioning, more checking, and simply confusion.  BTW, it is no big deal not to change your legal name right after marriage; it can be done any time.

Do you recommend using pay stubs as evidence that you have lived in the United States for the past 5 years? Or should I just use bank statements or other records? 

I would say that if you have other evidence like the bank statements, use those.  By providing pay stubs you are providing solid evidence and creating a huge paper trail that you worked illegally and thus confessing to a crime for which even if you are approved now, you maybe prosecuted later or at least denied other immigration benefits.

What's going to happen to people who were caught driving without a driver's license and have gotten tickets for that? 

If you were driving without a license that is not an issue.  I am hoping it was not DUI and you paid your tickets.

If the High School diploma shows a name that is missing a last name do you have to explain how your name is incorrect? Do you have to explain if there are several documents that are missing a last name?

Yes.  It is common for many foreigners to have complicated names that are not often added to their American documents.  As long as your first and last names are consistent and all other evidence proves that you are the person in the documents, you have nothing to worry.  Just add an explanatory note.

If you worked with a fake social security number and they are paying you cash do you have to mention that you did so?

You have to be truthful and provide your actual income, but according to clarifications issued recently, you do not have to give your fake social security number.  Just leave that line blank.  In other words, you are no longer saying anything about working with false documents.

Do you have to prove that you were physically present on June 15 of 2012 even if you have attended all schooling in the USA until graduation since kindergarten?

Yes.  It can be any document after that date that simply proves that you were in the country.  The type of documents that you can submit are listed here.

I have lost the biometrics appointment letter.  Do you think USCIS will help me get the fingerprints done out without the letter or perhaps do you think there's a way of getting another letter?

You must have received an acknowledgement letter with a number and with that information call the USCIS National Customer Service Center at 1-800-375-5283 and tell them what happened (in case you have lost all documentation they might be able to find the application with your name, DOB, citizenship, etc.).  I think they might try to accommodate you somehow (typically they can fax a copy to you if you provide a number to them), if not, they will make another appointment and send you another letter.  The letter is what allows you entry into the ASC because the security staff has no flexibility in allowing people without appointment letters.  They might also suggest that you make an appointment at the nearest office and get a duplicate copy of any other documents that you might have misplaced.  Don't worry about it but you must let them know that you lost the letter because otherwise if you fail to show up, they will reject the application.

I lost my I-94 and I submitted an application to replace it (I-102) to USCIS and provided all the information (I have the passport that I used to enter and it has the stamp along with date of entry) and their decision was that USCIS " has been unable to verify the applicant's assertion of lawful admission as a B-2 nonimmigrant." Can I apply without the number on my I -94 and, if yes, would that affect my application?

It is very weird, but that is okay; maybe USCIS lost track or destroyed records.  You should pick B-2 in question 15, and tick no on #16a and leave 16b blank.  Put the date of your valid stay from the passport, if not, put an estimated date because it was probably a few months.  If you came with others, it should be the same period allowed for all of you.  I don't think it will affect your DACA application (especially if you meet all the requirements and can provide evidence to back it all up).  For people who don't have a stamp in their passport and also lack the I-94 may face problems later on because somehow if you don't have evidence of lawful entry (the burden of legal entry is on the applicant and not on the government) then you would be categorized as someone who entered without inspection (a more serious crime) than someone who simply had a visa overstay (a much less of a crime).

How do I add more than three residential addresses on Form I-821D?

On page 6, part 7, in 2a, write 3, in 2b, write 2, and leave 2c blank.  In the space next to 2d, write the addresses.  If it does not fit in the space, in the last line, write "Continued on page 7."  And then on another piece of paper put the addresses and write page 7 on top along with "continued from page 6, item 2d.  Make sure that the page also has your name.

Does having DACA allow me to one day be able to apply for my residency in the US, or perhaps one day become a citizen?

This permit simply gives you a way to live in the US for two years.  It has no connection at all to the DREAM Act or any other amnesty that Congress may pass in the future.  This does not give you an preferential treatment if such a program were to be introduced.  And while it is relatively easy to get approved for a green card, citizenship is always a lot more complex.  For instance, immigrants who have claimed to be citizens or worked without authorization or done other illegal acts may be disqualified under the "good moral character" requirement of naturalization.  In any case, at this point it is unclear what will happen as far as immigration reform is concerned.  DACA is simply an administrative step that puts a short term hold on deportations and as a humanitarian benefit gives the right to work, but confers no legal status.

If I get approved and Mitt Romney decides to kill the program will I be automatically deported considering that I have confessed to being in the country illegally and they now have all my information?

Not for as long as your deferral is valid, according to Romney right now, but after that, no one knows what he (or any other future president) might decide to do.  DACA is a short term relief measure with a lot of uncertainty about its future.  It is also unclear what are the implications for DACA applicants and approved immigrants in case Congress does not pass any immigration amnesty in the future.

My parents/spouse pays for everything.  I have no income either.  Are my expenses zero?

Regardless of who pays, everyone has expenses.  At any age, expenses may include, food, clothing, rent/mortgage, utilities, transportation, education, etc. and the best way to estimate is to divide the total cost by number of family members in the household.  Just make sure that you have documents supporting an item in the expense list (e.g. mortgage bill or tuition statement) and keep the calculation handy in your immigration file so that if USCIS were to ask for the rationale in an RFE, you will not need to wonder how you came up with a specific number.

I don't know how to answer question #13 on Form I765 Place of last entry into the US? I crossed the border illegally but I don't know what to type if I entered illegally.

It is not as important a detail for those who crossed illegally (it hardly matters where you crossed if you were not processed) but is a routine question asked of those who entered legally because then it is easy to track down the records in the database.  For #14, put EWI which is basically entry without inspection meaning that you were not inspected by an officer at the border.  For #15, put unlawful status.

I qualify for all the requirements to apply for Deferred Action; the only problem is that I don't have my alien number or my I-94 because my parents lost my paper work. Any advice on what to do about it?

It is not a big problem to not have your I-94 and you can say no to #16a leave the space in #16b blank as long as you have other evidence that you entered the country before 2007.  If you can find out your exact date of permitted stay from your parents' passports and/or their I-94, most likely your was the same for item #17, otherwise leave it blank.

From what I know I had a deportation order back in 2000 when I was just nine years old. Would that still be in the system and affect me?

You will need to disclose your deportation order and provide all the information and that means the paperwork that you had received at the time.  This will not necessarily disqualify you.  And please do not even think about hiding a piece of information because you think it is in the system or not.  You will have to be 100% truthful in answering all questions.

I have a boyfriend who came to the US at the age of 3 yrs old with his parents; he is now 30 yrs old and is wanting to apply for papers but is afraid of being deported during the process.  What necessary steps should he take? And what are his chances of getting approved?

Do you know if he is eligible for DACA?  You can check his eligibility.  Assuming he is eligible and has no skeletons in his closet (like he is wanted for crimes that he has not told you about) there is no reason he will be deported.  If he is eligible and submits an accurate and complete application, he will definitely get approved and not be deported for at least two years, plus, he will get a work permit to work legally.  Obviously, this is the case if his is a straightforward case, that he has been a law-abiding person the whole time, and is not wanted for any serious crimes, but if there are parts of his life that he is not telling you about, then, by applying he will simply be telling the authorities, "Hey, here I am, come get me."

For Form I-765, #11, whether it was granted or denied, they ask you to attach all documentation. What should be included? Just the approval/denial letter? Or are they expecting all the documents that were sent prior to now?

Definitely attach the approval/denial letter but if you have the previous Form I-765 (even better if you include a copy of the application that was filed to allow you to work, for example, a green card application) that you filed, that will make it easier to process your case.  The easier you make it for an officer at the USCIS, the faster the processing.  When you provide copies of supporting documentation, the officer does not have to search for it or can find it easily, and while some things can be found through a few clicks, a lot of data is not digitized and it can be a nightmare to track those down because they are often stored in giant warehouses scattered all over the country.

For Form I-765ws, if a person has practiced unauthorized employment in the past but currently is not working, should the current annual income be entered as zero?

If you are currently unemployed, obviously, you should put current annual income as zero.  The USCIS merely wants to decide if you should be allowed to work in the future and it does not matter what you did in the past.

Does DACA and work permit make you a resident?

Actually, no.  You are not a legal resident, but using a very complicated definition, in some ways your presence is somewhat lawful.  Remember, though, that the IRS also uses the word resident and it is totally different from its legal meaning as far as immigration law is concerned.  According to the Internal Revenue Service, regardless of your immigration status, if you reside in America or a state, you are a resident and will be subject to tax liabilities as any other resident, e.g., a citizen.  So that is just to distinguish you from a visitor. The information below is obsolete but is left for reference purpose: Below are some of the most frequently asked questions related to the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act of 2013 which will allow eligible undocumented aliens Registered Provision Immigrant (RPI) legal status that can be used to apply for green cards and eventually US citizenship: