If you believe you qualify for deferred action based on childhood arrival to the U.S. or DACA and you've never before applied, the next step is to gather the needed materials and submit an application. This involves sending in two government forms, plus supporting evidence showing that you qualify for deferred action status, plus a fee.
Although DACA was nearly terminated by the Trump Administration, the Biden Administration brought it back in early 2021.
The forms you'll need to submit are prepared by a government agency called U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, and include:
Click the above links to access free downloads of these forms on the USCIS website.
You must apply for a work permit even if you don't plan to work. In any case, it's a handy form of photo identification.
It's important to supply supporting documents to show evidence that you meet all the eligibility criteria, including proof of your identity, age, entry date in the U.S., academic record, continuous physical presence in the United States since June 15, 2007 up to when you applied, and presence in the U.S on June 15, 2012.
Such evidence might include:
These are simply examples. You should also think about what other documents might show that you meet the criteria.
If, for example, you won a swimming contest at a U.S. summer camp, a copy of your certificate would be a good form of evidence of your physical presence here. Some people have even submitted traffic or speeding tickets as evidence (though any more serious run-in with police might be problematic for your DACA eligibility, so talk to a lawyer.)
The fee for the DACA application is (as of early 2021) $465, which includes the standard $85 biometrics (fingerprinting) fee for a background check and the EAD fee.
You must file your application by mail, not in person or online. USCIS provides addresses on its website. The exact one you'll use depends on where you live and whether you use the U.S. postal service or some other carrier such as FedEx, UPS, or DHL.
Also, you can submit a DACA application if you are already in deportation proceedings, but the procedures will be somewhat different. Definitely get an attorney's help with this.
If you have any doubts about your eligibility for DACA or whether you should apply, getting help from an attorney is an especially good idea. That's even more true if you have any sort of criminal history, even if it was a juvenile conviction or the record has been sealed or expunged.