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Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)

Audio Description: Watch New York City DACA recipients share their stories about the importance of defending DACA, the federal immigration program that gives young immigrants the opportunity to work lawfully and provides temporary protection from deportation.



Recent Developments

Due to ongoing litigation, the information on this page may change quickly. You should get immigration legal help before submitting any kind of DACA application. A recent court decision may, in the future, allow certain immigrants to file new DACA applications even if they have never had DACA. Certain DACA renewal applications continue to be processed. Read below for more information. 

What is Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)?

DACA, or Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, is a federal immigration program begun in 2012 under President Obama that helps undocumented immigrants who came to the United States as young people. DACA provides eligible undocumented immigrants with temporary protection from deportation and access to work authorization.

On September 5, 2017, the White House announced the end of the DACA program stating that new DACA applications that were accepted as of September 5, 2017 would be adjudicated, as well as renewal applications for people whose DACA will expire before March 5, 2018. This decision was challenged in federal courts.


Federal Court Orders Government to Accept DACA Renewals

On January 9, 2018, a federal district court ordered the federal government to put a process in place to resume receiving DACA renewal applications. Although there are have been further legal challenges and developments, USCIS is accepting renewal applications for DACA.

Guidance implementing the court’s order is up on the USCIS website:

Starting January 13, 2018, USCIS began accepting DACA renewal applications for individuals who were previously granted DACA.
•    Individuals whose DACA status expired on or after September 5, 2016, may file a renewal application.
•    Individuals whose DACA status expired before September 5, 2016 or whose DACA was terminated can submit a new initial DACA application, which would need to include all evidence establishing eligibility for DACA.

DACA recipients who had missed the previous DACA renewal deadline of October 5, 2017, may file for renewal. In addition, current DACA recipients whose status has not yet expired may also be able to file an early renewal application.

USCIS will not accept applications from individuals who have never had DACA status before. Also, USCIS will not accept applications for advance parole (travel permit) from individuals who have DACA.

Anyone who may be eligible to renew their DACA should contact their attorney immediately.

Free, safe immigration legal help is available by calling 311 and saying “ActionNYC.

Frequently Asked Questions


How can I renew my DACA under the new court orders?
You can find information about the process for submitting renewal applications on the USCIS website.

Anyone who may be eligible to renew their DACA should contact their attorney immediately. Free, safe immigration legal help is available by calling 311 and saying “ActionNYC.

Is there a deadline to submit my DACA renewal application under the new court order?
USCIS is accepting renewal applications as the result of court orders. The litigation over the end of the DACA program continues in multiple courts however. Thus, it is unclear how long the window to renew will last. 

Anyone who may be eligible to renew their DACA should contact their attorney immediately. Free, safe immigration legal help is available by calling 311 and saying “ActionNYC.

I don’t have DACA. Can I still apply?
Individuals who have previously been granted DACA may file for renewal under the process announced by USCIS. Unfortunately, individuals who have never been granted DACA are not eligible under this process. 

If you are not sure whether you may apply for renewal of your DACA status, you can connect to free, safe immigration legal help by calling 311 and saying "ActionNYC."

Is there financial assistance available to pay for DACA renewal applications?
There are organizations that may be able to assist with DACA filing fees subject to the availability of funds. For more information please visit the New Economy Project NYC Dreamer website.

I have DACA and a work permit. Is my work authorization still valid?
Your employment authorization card (work permit) is valid until expiration, unless it is individually terminated or revoked.

I’m a DACA recipient. Will the information I shared with the federal government be used to deport me?
The federal government has stated its current policy is that information provided in DACA requests is “protected from disclosure” to immigration enforcement agencies unless the individual meets the criteria for the issuance of a Notice To Appear or a referral to immigration enforcement authorities under the criteria set forth in the federal government’s Notice to Appear guidance (www.uscis.gov/NTA). Generally, such criteria address cases that involve public safety threats, criminal matters, and/or allegations of fraud. 

I have legal questions about what the end of DACA means for me. What should I do?
Now is the time to look into what your legal options might be. You may be eligible for renewal of your DACA status under the process announced by USCIS on January 13, 2018, and/or you may be eligible for other forms of immigration relief. It is very important for you to get a legal consultation with a trusted legal services provider.

ActionNYC can provide free, safe immigration legal help in your community, and in your language. Call 311 and say "ActionNYC."

How can I avoid fraud while I am seeking immigration legal help?
Beware of unlicensed immigration service providers who take advantage of their customers. Get help only from a trusted, licensed attorney or an accredited representative. Only lawyers or those who have gotten permission from the Department of Justice can give legal advice. For questions about this, or to report fraud, call the New York State New Americans Hotline at 1-800-566-7636 between 9am-8pm, on Monday through Friday, or call 311.

I'm a DACA recipient and I have a New York State Driver's License, Permit, or Non-Driver's ID. Is this still valid?
New York State driver’s licenses and identity documents remain valid until the document’s expiration date. However, DACA holders issued a driver’s license on the basis of being a “Temporary Visitor” may not be able to renew their license on that basis once their DACA status has expired.

New York City residents who need identification can apply for an IDNYC card for free, regardless of immigration status. IDNYC is issued by New York City. It does not grant a license to drive or provide work authorization, but it is accepted identification across City government and in many other situations. Call 311 and say "IDNYC" or visit nyc.gov/IDNYC to learn more and schedule an appointment.

I’m a DACA recipient. Is my Social Security Number still valid?
Social Security Numbers do not expire. However the number is only valid to demonstrate employment authorization for individuals who have valid work authorization. 

I have DACA and receive health insurance from my employer. How does the end of DACA impact my health insurance coverage?
Your current health insurance coverage is not immediately impacted by the DACA decision. If you have work authorization through DACA, your employer may be providing you and your dependents with health coverage or other benefits. If your DACA expires and you lose your work authorization, health coverage and any other benefits you receive from your employer may be at risk.

I have DACA and receive public health insurance (Medicaid) in New York State. Will I be allowed to keep the health insurance even after my DACA status expires?
If you are currently a DACA recipient, have a DACA application pending, or ever had DACA you may be eligible for state-funded Medicaid. The federal government’s decision from September 5, 2017 to end the DACA program does not affect your eligibility for Medicaid in New York state. For more information please visit the New York State of Health’s DACA site.

Can DACA recipients and their children still attend public school – even after their DACA status expires?
Yes. The New York City Department of Education (DOE) and the Mayor’s Office are committed to protecting the right of every student in New York City to attend public school, regardless of immigration status.

Are New York State professional licenses still valid, even after my DACA expires?
In 2016, the New York Board of Regents authorized DACA recipients, who were otherwise eligible, to obtain a professional license and certain teacher certifications. A New York State professional license is valid for life unless it is revoked, annulled, or suspended by the Board of Regents. However, professionals are required to re-register with the New York State Office of Professions periodically. See the New York State Office of Professions site for more information.

If my DACA status expires, will I still have access to City services?

The following City services are available to all New Yorkers regardless of immigration status:
•    Access to public schools
•    Health care
•    Emergency food
•    Shelter
•    Public safety
•    IDNYC (a free, government issued city ID card)
•    NYCWell (free, confidential mental health services)

Note: some services administered by the City have federal & sate eligibility requirements.

What are my rights and protections against discrimination?

As a New Yorker you have the right to be free from unlawful discrimination, retaliation, and harassment in the workplace, housing, and public places. If you face any such treatment, call 311 and say “human rights” or call the NYC Commission on Human Rights at (718) 722-3131.

Additional Resources for DACA Recipients

Get connected to free, confidential legal help.
ActionNYC can provide free, safe legal help in your community, and in your language. You can call 311 and say "ActionNYC" to make an appointment.

If you’re feeling anxious, stressed or depressed – help is available.
It’s normal to feel anxiety and stress. ThriveNYC will give you access to mental health supports in your language. Call 1-888-NYC-WELL, text “WELL” to 65173, or go online to nyc.gov/nycwell.

Stay connected – get an IDNYC.
IDNYC is a free, official government-issued identification card recognized in City buildings, public schools and by the NYPD. Call 311 and say "IDNYC" or visit nyc.gov/idnyc to make an appointment.

How You Can Support NYC Dreamers

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New Yorkers have embraced the DACA program, and DACA has in turn provided thousands of New Yorkers with the opportunity to pursue higher education, their career goals, and to give back to the country they call home. Mayor de Blasio continues to advocate for the protection of DACA recipients through the passage of legislation in Congress.


How can I get involved?
•    Volunteer with the Mayor's Office of Immigrant Affairs. Visit nyc.gov/MOIAVolunteer or call 212-788-7654 during business hours, Monday-Friday, 9 am-5 pm.

•    Inform & Engage: Invite the Mayor's Office of Immigrant Affairs to your community for a “Know Your Rights Forum.” Visit nyc.gov/InviteMOIA or call 212-788-7654 during business hours, Monday-Friday, 9 am-5 pm.