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Drawbacks and Benefits of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals

Deferred Action is not suitable for everyone, but it can be a good option if you are aware of the drawbacks.


  • If you apply there is no guarantee your application will be approved.
  • The application costs $465. The application fee is non-refundable whether your application is approved or not.
  • If your application is not approved, there is a small risk that your case may be referred to ICE and you may be issued a Notice to Appear in removal proceedings.
  • Deferred action is only good for two years. The work permit is only good for two years. At the end of the two years you may not be able to renew your work permit or extend deferred action, or there may be another fee associated with renewal.
  • You cannot safely travel in and out of the country while your case is deferred.
  • The deferred action eligibility is an administrative policy, not a law. The president, secretary of homeland security, or USCIS may change or end the policy at any time.


  • If you application is approved, you will be eligible for a work permit and you will not be subject to any immigration proceedings for at least two years.
  • USCIS has agreed not to forward your information to ICE unless your case involves criminal offenses, fraud, a threat to national security, or exceptional circumstances.
  • You will not accrue unlawful presence while your case is deferred.
  • You may be able to renew your work permit indefinitely, even after you turn thirty.

Deferred action is easier to qualify for than cancellation of removal and adjustment of status, for those in removal proceedings.