On November 20, 2014, President Obama announced a range of executive measures that the administration will take to improve the functioning of the United States immigration system. As a part of these measures, the administration is changing the eligibility requirements for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program to increase the number of individuals who are eligible to apply.

DACA was first announced on June 15, 2012 as an administrative measure to provide work permission and temporary relief from the threat of deportation to individuals present in the United States without authorization, provided that they meet certain criteria. To be eligible, individuals had to show that they had come to the U.S. before turning 16, had earned a high school degree in the U.S., and had resided in the U.S. for at least five years and were under 31 years old on the date that the program was announced.

The new guidelines remove the age cap, meaning that individuals may now qualify for DACA regardless of their age. The new guidelines also require that individuals have continuous residence in the United States since January 1, 2010, rather than the prior requirement that individuals have continuous residence in the United States since June 15, 2007.

Finally, the administration announced that DACA will be granted in periods of three years, rather than two.

To be eligible for DACA, applicants will still be required to show that they established residence in the United States prior to turning 16, graduated from high school or earned a GED, and do not have any disqualifying crimes.

Individuals considering applying for DACA are strongly advised to consult with an immigration attorney before filing a DACA application.

Please contact Kolko & Associates, P.C. to set up a consultation with one of our experienced attorneys to review your case and discuss your eligibility for this program.