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Does the deferred action work permit make me legal?

A lot of you who are benefiting from the deferred action for childhood arrivals work permit plan are wondering if getting a work permit will also make you a legal resident of the United States.  The answer is not a straightforward one.  It is indeed true that you will get an employment authorization document (EAD) that will allow you to legally work in the country and be able to enjoy other services available to legal residents like getting a driver's license or registering a car (the rules vary by state, though, and you will need to abide by the laws of your state) or apply for student loans or get licenses and permits.

You will not, however, be legal as far as immigrating to the US is concerned.  The good news is that as long as you have a valid work permit, you will not accrue additional time for unlawful presence, and that can be a factor later on.  The bottom line is that unlike other legal immigrants who have a stamp in their passport that clearly shows that they are in the United States legally up to the date indicated there, you will have no such proof. 

The DHS and USCIS are absolutely clear that even after you get a work permit you are in unlawful status, which is different from unlawful presence.  In other words, you will be subject to all the restrictions and prohibitions on individuals without lawful status, but for exceptional circumstances you maybe able to travel outside the country after receiving prior authorization.