Deferred Action: When Can I Travel?

Deferred Action TravelOne of the requirements to receive Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) is that the applicant has to have continuously resided in the United States for five years. This begs the question just what is continuous residence? If I left the country for any period of time would I be ineligible?

“Am I Eligible?”

The way that the government is looking at these cases people won’t be penalized for what they are terming “brief, casual and innocent”. This means that trips of short duration will be overlooked when the USCIS is considering the deferred action. This would include things like vacations and short visits to family. However, longer trips outside of the United States could be considered as an applicant voluntarily removing themselves from the country. Also, if you have been officially deported or left the country to participate in illegal activities you cannot be considered for deferred action. If you did not spend any significant amount of time outside of the United States in the five years prior to August 15, 2012 it is likely, but not assured, that you will meet this requirement.

Travel becomes a whole different game after August 15, 2012. It is very important to remember that before you are granted deferred action if you leave the country for any reason this will be considered you abandoning your residence here and will disqualify you from receiving any benefits through the DACA policy. Even after you have applied for deferred action through the USCIS it is very important to follow their policies regarding immigrants leaving the country. Once you have received deferred action it will be necessary for you to apply for advance parole to leave the country for any period of time. This form is distributed by the USCIS, costs $360 and is mostly only granted to people for humanitarian purposes. Examples of humanitarian purposes include travelling to other countries to assist in disaster recovery or religious missions.

So before travelling, be sure to make sure that you are all squared away with the U.S. government.