Immigration

DACA and TPS

If you entered the U.S. as a child, or if you are in the U.S. and unable to return to your country of citizenship safely, you may be eligible for temporary permission to stay in the U.S. through the DACA or TPS programs. Learn more about the DACA and TPS programs for foreign citizens.

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Understanding the Basics

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DACA and TPS are programs that allow foreign citizens to temporarily live and work in the U.S.

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) allows people who entered the U.S. as children to stay here temporarily without risking removal.

Participating in DACA does not create a pathway to citizenship. It is a temporary permission to live in the U.S. and request work authorization.

If you are granted DACA status, it lasts 2 years and may be renewed.

On July 19, 2021, a federal court stopped new applications for DACA. This does not affect people who already have DACA. If you already have DACA, you can still apply for renewal. If a higher court decides to bring back DACA for everyone, you are eligible if you:

  • Were born after June 15, 1981
  • Were younger than 16 when you came to the U.S.
  • Came to the U.S. by June 15, 2007, and stayed
  • Were in the U.S. on June 15, 2012
  • Were undocumented on June 15, 2012, and are still undocumented at the time you submit the application
  • Graduated high school, received a GED or are in school now
  • Are at least 15 years old (with some rare exceptions)
  • Have not been convicted of a felony, significant misdemeanor or 3 or more other misdemeanors, and do not otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety.

The rules of DACA change often. To learn more about DACA’s rules and your eligibility, talk to a lawyer. You can find nonprofits that offer free legal help in your area on this page under "Legal Help and Lawyers."

Read more to learn about hiring an immigration lawyer. 

Temporary Protected Status (TPS)

Temporary Protected Status (TPS) allows foreign citizens in the U.S. to stay here if returning to their country of citizenship becomes dangerous. Eligible dangers may include ongoing armed conflict (like civil war), major environmental disasters (like an earthquake) or other extraordinary and temporary dangers.

Getting TPS does not create a pathway to citizenship. It is a temporary status that usually lasts about 18 months. After 18 months, the status is reevaluated by the U.S. government. While you have TPS, you may live and work in the U.S.

Your eligibility to apply for or renew TPS depends on your nationality. To learn more about your country’s eligibility for TPS applications and renewals, visit the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services website.

To learn more about TPS’s rules and your eligibility, talk to a lawyer. You can find nonprofits that offer free legal help in your area on this page under "Legal Help and Lawyers."

Read more to learn about hiring an immigration lawyer. 

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