Prepare to apply for DACA

En Español


1. Don’t let yourself be fooled! Any person who claims that there are a limited number of applications or that there is a deadline to apply is lying. If you think someone is trying to defraud you, stop working with them immediately and contact us at 619-363-3423.

2. Do not ever present yourself to ICE, CBP, or the Border Patrol to apply. If you do so, you may be detained.

3. USCIS is the agency that will process applications. The application is available for free online at Beware of people selling the applications.


In order to apply you need to gather the following kinds of documents:

1. Documents to establish identity and date of birth:

  • These could include a birth certificate or a passport or other identity document from your country of origin.
  • If you DO NOT have a passport, but you DO have a birth certificate, it is highly recommended that you contact your consulate to apply for a passport. A passport application can be processed as quickly as one day if you have your birth certificate.
  • If you are under 18 years old and have never had a passport, you will need both parents to sign the application. If both parents are unavailable, you can alert the consulate and they will explain the extra steps you may need to take to get a passport.
  • If you DO NOT have a birth certificate, it is highly recommended that you contact your consulate to learn how you can obtain one. Because this may take some time, you should contact the consulate as soon as possible.
  • If you are a Mexican national (born in Mexico), the Mexican Consulate in San Diego is prepared to assist you in obtaining identity documents to be able to apply for DACA. Make an appointment with the Mexican Consulate.

2. Documents to establish your presence in the United States.

  • To apply, you will need to show that (1) you arrived prior to turning 16 years old, (2) you were physically present in the U.S. on June 15, 2012, and (3) you have lived here continuously since June 2007.
  • Evidence to establish your presence might include documents with your name such as school records, vaccination records, doctor’s charts, report cards, pay stubs, bank statements, phone bills, rent receipts, etc.
  • Additional evidence might include any of the above documents with your parents names if you can establish your relationship through a birth certificate and establish that you were in their care in the U.S. Such evidence could include their names along with yours on school records and medical records.

3. Documents of current or past enrollment in school or discharge from the military.

  • These could include your high school degree or GED certificate, or proof of current enrollment in a degree program. If you served in the military, it could include evidence of your honorable discharge.
  • Note that you DO NOT have to demonstrate that you met the education / military requirement on June 15th. Instead, you have to demonstrate that you meet this requirement on the day that you apply for DACA.
  • If you do not currently meet this requirement, it is highly recommended that you enroll in school as soon as possible. This could mean enrolling in community college (you do not have to have a high school degree to begin classes) or enroll in a program to get your GED certificate.

4. Documents regarding any criminal or immigration record.

  • When you apply, you will be fingerprinted and any record of contact with police or immigration authorities will be revealed. If you have had contact with police or immigration authorities (even for minor offenses), it is highly recommended that you speak with a qualified immigration attorney to assess whether you are eligible to apply for DACA. It will be important for you to gather any records you have to bring to an attorney. If an attorney determines that you are eligible, you will already have your documents gathered to share with USCIS, who will likely ask that you provide whatever documents you have.


You should absolutely seek counsel from a qualified immigration attorney before applying if any of the following factors apply to you:

  1. You have a criminal record of any kind. Try to obtain as much documentation as you can about your arrest and the outcome of the arrest and bring to an appointment with the attorney.
  2. You are an applicant for a different type of immigration status (you have an application pending with USCIS) or you already have another status (for example, TPS, Family Unity, applicant for adjustment of status).
  3. You are concerned that a parent or spouse has a prior removal order and/or serious criminal record and may be apprehended if you are asked to list the whereabouts of that person on the application.
  4. You have been deported or received a “voluntary departure,” “administrative voluntary return,” or “expedited removal.” In other words, if you have ever had previous contact with ICE or CBP (Border Patrol), consult a qualified attorney before applying for DACA.


Information is power. Spread the word about what you’ve learned on this website and at our events and about the resources available to the community.

Also, if you are not already involved, get involved in your community and in the growing efforts of the San Diego Immigrant Rights Consortium and our partners to ensure that immigrants are treated fairly, with humanity, dignity and respect.


  1. Angie /

    I was granted deferred action for the first time about 4 years ago when I was detained by ICE, I went through immigration court were it was determined by the judge that I had to return to Mexico even though I told the judge that I was brought as a baby to the United States, the judge final decision was for me to return to my “home” (back to Mexico). My pro-bono lawyer then submitted a request for Deferred Action which was granted with but it also came with a Deportation Order. Two years ago before starting the renewal of my work permit I was advised to get a lawyer due to having a deportation order. My question is: do i really need the representation of a lawyer to renew my deferred action (DACA)? Or should I start saving up my pennies to hire one? Please help!

  2. Hello my name is Ana , I entered the united states when I was 7 years old. I finished elementary school in Phoenix, Arizona as well as Highschool. I was a good grade student, in highschool I graduated with honors. My situation now is that i returned to Mexico to continue my education here.I am about to finish an engineering career,but would like to continue my education in the United States. My question is am I eligible for this program or what should I do. I have no criminal records, I returned voluntarily.

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