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Life after Deferred Action: What you need to know

Posted on: November 21st, 2012 by Meghan Moore No Comments

Have you received an approval of your request for deferred action in the U.S.? If so, congratulations. Read on for some important information about life after a grant of “deferred action.”

Know that “deferred action” is not lawful status in the United States. Your deferred action status does not grant you permanent residency nor does it create a pathway to obtain permanent residency or citizenship. However, it does mean that you have protection from being deported. You should not be detained by the Department of Homeland Security for simply being here without status.

Your deferred action status should be valid for two years. Because President Obama was elected to a second term as President of the United States, you will likely be able to renew your deferred action status.

The government has not announced the requirements for renewal yet. However, it is likely you will need to prove that you have been physically present in the U.S. since you received deferred action. You may want to consider retaining documentation of your presence in the U.S. (e.g., tax returns, pay stubs, correspondence, school documentation) to help you when you renew your application. You should also take into consideration your education status.

For purposes of renewal of your deferred action status, if you have already obtained your high school diploma or GED, you do not have to continue your education or take college classes. If you are currently taking college classes (after, of course, having earned your GED or high school diploma), you do not have to graduate college or obtain a higher degree in order to renew your deferred action status.

If you are currently enrolled in high school, you will have to show that you either graduated with your diploma or have made substantial measurable progress towards receiving your diploma in order to be considered for renewal. If you are currently enrolled in a GED program, you will have to show that you have obtained your GED certificate in order to be considered for renewal. It is likely that more specifics about the education requirement will be announced closer to the time that renewal is a possibility.

You must be aware that any criminal activity may affect your deferred action status and lead to removal (deportation) proceedings being instituted against you. It may also affect your ability to renew your deferred action status. Be sure to consult with an experienced attorney about how your criminal conviction may affect you as soon as you have been arrested or are faced with any criminal charges.

A grant of deferred action under this program makes you legally eligible to work in the United States. You should receive a work permit, or an “employment authorization document” in the mail. You can apply for a job right away. Be aware that if you show your new employment authorization document to your current employer, your employer may be suspicious that you were previously using false documents to work there. If your employer considers this to be a serious infraction, your employment could be terminated. Unfortunately, there is likely no recourse against the employer if you lose your job this way.

You are also eligible for a social security number. You should go to your local Social Security Administration office to apply for a social security number. When applying for your social security number, make sure to have your employment authorization document and your birth certificate or passport with you.

Deferred action does not grant you permission to travel internationally; it is a not a travel permit. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has stated that it may grant authorization to travel internationally for humanitarian, educational or employment purposes. You should be able travel within the United States without any problems.

Unfortunately, the Michigan Secretary of State has decided it will not issue a driver’s license to individuals with deferred action. Avanti Law Group is fighting this decision and working for a solution to this problem. If you live in another state, you may be able to obtain your driver’s license with your deferred action status.

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