DACA, known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, is a policy that was set by the U.S. government protecting children whose parents had brought them into the country illegally. Under DACA status, these children are allowed to stay in the United States legally, and it affords them legal protection and a work permit.
DACA holders cannot be deported but must have their cards renewed regularly to ensure lawful residence. If you are a DACA cardholder, there is only one way to obtain citizenship. Unfortunately, it’s not a direct path. Below, we will explain more about U.S. citizenship as DACA cardholders and the extensive process that must be taken.
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Can a DACA Recipient Directly Apply for Citizenship?
Unfortunately, DACA recipients cannot apply for citizenship through a direct pathway. Currently, this is being debated, and different drafts are being composed with the hopes of changing the answer to this question.
However, DACA recipients are able to apply for permanent resident status. But this only will happen if you enter the U.S. on a valid visa or have family members who are legal citizens. This way, you can apply for permanent residence within the country lawfully.
If you obtain a green card legally, you can then advance to the next steps, which is naturalization. Naturalization is the process by which immigrants may become U.S. citizens. It requires applicants to have resided in the United States with a legal, permanent resident status for five years (three years if they are veterans of the U.S. armed forces).
Upon completion of these periods and compliance with other requirements, applicants may apply for naturalization. An applicant who has been granted U.S. citizenship can vote in elections, enter and exit the country as needed, and petition for green cards for eligible family members.
Latest News About DACA Citizenship Pathways
With the new administration, they are looking for ways to make an easier pathway for DACA recipients to obtain citizenship. Currently, Congress is debating immigration reform and re-drafts of the DREAM Act. If this act is reformed, it would provide a direct path to citizenship for dreamers.
In 2021, President Biden presented a new policy called the American Dream and Promise Act of 2021. This policy is made specifically for DACA recipients to easily obtain citizenship. However, there are requirements for DACA recipients, which include:
- Remaining in the U.S. for at least four years after the act has been passed
- Hold Dreamer status
- Having no criminal record
- Be enrolled in school or have graduated from school
- Serve in the military or wish to be apart of the military
Current administrations have approved the act in the House of Representatives, and will now need to pass the bill over to the Senate and await their approval. If approved, there will be an easier direct way for DACA recipients to obtain citizenship.
Can You Become a U.S. Citizen With a DACA Status?
Though it is a complicated process, Dreamer citizenship is possible. Working with an immigration lawyer or using specialized software can assist you in beginning your citizenship process. DACA recipients must still apply for a green card and meet all the requirements before moving towards naturalization.
The requirements for DACA recipients to apply for a green card, which is also known as permanent resident status, include:
- Eligibility for family based immigration, employment based immigration, or asylum and refugee status
- Having a legal U.S. citizen file on your behalf for your green card application petition
- You must pass health checks and medical exams to ensure you are eligible for admission into the U.S. without being a liability
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If you are a DACA recipient and wish to become a U.S. citizen, that process is long and complex. However, there are ways to make it happen with the help of skilled professionals. At ImmigrationDirect, we offer you the best immigration solution software to make the process easier and more straight forward.
Any questions you have or help you need, you can contact us at your convenience. Additionally, we offer a money back guarantee for all applications completed through our online technology. So, don’t keep waiting, get started today and get one step closer to becoming a U.S. citizen.