You’ve been Approved for DACA…Now What?
So you received DACA and work authorization! What’s next? Now that your DACA has been approved, we want to give you a list of 8 things that you should know and do. Here are some of the top things we recommend after your DACA application is approved and you’ve received your DACA Employment Authorization Document (EAD).
1. Get A Social Security Number
This is essential to all of the following steps. You must apply for your Social Security Number through the Social Security office in person, taking your DACA EAD with you. Getting a new SSN based on your work authorization is not automatic, you have to go in and do this yourself.
What should you bring? Your DACA work permit and one of the following documents as proof of your age and identity.
An original or certified copy of the following will be accepted:
- Birth certificate
- U.S. driver’s license or state-issued ID card
- Copy of medical record
- Religious record showing age or date of birth
- School ID card or school record showing age or date of birth
- U.S. military ID card or record
Print out and complete an Application for a Social Security Card (Form SS-5).
Take the application and the required documents to a Social Security office where you will sign the application. You can find your local office at www.socialsecurity.gov/locator, or by checking the list below.
2. Get a State ID or Driver’s License
Getting a state ID or driver’s license based on your new DACA authorization should be straightforward. Usually, you need to complete Step 1 first because most states require Social Security Numbers to get a driver’s license. You will also likely need to provide proof of residence (check your state’s website for further documentation requirements), but proof of your residence should be easy for you to supply as you needed it when you applied for DACA.
3. Resolve Tax Issues
The U.S. government is pretty strict when it comes to tax payments. If you worked in the U.S. while you were an undocumented immigrant, it is best that you resolve any issues resulting from that to avoid legal troubles down the road. If you haven’t been paying taxes or want to be sure you have been paying the proper amount, seek advice from a tax accountant.
4. Look for a Better Job
Now that you have work authorization, you are able to work for many more employers. Your EAD is proof of your legal right to work and any prospective employer shouldn’t need any other proof of your eligibility. If you were employed before you received work authorization, you may want to seek the advice of an attorney before informing your employer of your new authorization.
5. Transfer Credit History To Your New SSN
If you had been using an Individual Tax Identification Number (ITIN) for tax and credit purposes before getting approved for DACA, you will want to move that information over to your Social Security Number (SSN). In fact, once you get a Social Security number, you must stop using your ITIN.
Your credit history is not automatically transferred from your ITIN to your SSN. To do, this, you must:
- Contact all three credit bureaus and ask request that they transfer your credit history. Do this by mailing a letter informing the bureau of your new SSN and asking that they transfer your ITIN history to your SSN.[unordered_list style='circle']
P.O. Box 740241
Atlanta, GA 30374
P.O. Box 2002
Allen, TX 75013
P.O. Box 1000
Chester, PA 19022
- Contact all of your financial institutions and ask them to update their records to reflect your new SSN.
- Contact the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) by mail to delete your ITIN and replace it with your SSN. Be sure to include copies of your ITIN and SSN. The address for the IRS’s ITIN Operation is:
Internal Revenue Service
P.O. Box 149342
Austin, TX 78714-9342
6. If You Are Going To College, You May Now Be Eligible for Additional Grants, Scholarships, or Financial Aid
Now that you have a Social Security number, you may be eligible for some forms of financial assistance. Depending on your state, as a DREAMer, you may be eligible for certain tuition and educational benefits for DACA students.
7. Apply To Travel Including Possibly Going Home to See Your Family
Even though your application for DACA was approved, there are still many restrictions that you need to know, especially regarding travel. With DACA, you are allowed to travel anywhere within the United States without having to apply for travel authorization from USCIS, or risking deportation. This includes Alaska and Hawaii and U.S. territories, however you must be aware that if your mode of travel stops in a foreign country, you will likely not be allowed to re-enter the United States unless you have received authorization to travel outside the United States.
If you have a need to travel outside the U.S., for a valid reason, such as an educational or work program, or family emergency (vacation is not enough), then you can apply for Advanced Parole from USCIS. You must apply at least 90 days before the day you wish to depart, and pay the $360 application fee.
If you don’t follow these strict guidelines, you risk your Deferred Action and work authorization. If you leave the U.S. without permission, even accidentally crossing the border, you may not be allowed back in.
8. Learn More About DACA and Help Your Friends
Immigration laws and regulations are constantly changing, and the DACA program is no exception. Elections, court rulings, and administrative action can all affect your life, so it is important to be aware of what is going on. The DACA program right now only authorizes you for 2 years of deferred action and work authorization, and you must reapply every 2 years, but there is no guarantee that the program will remain the same going forward. Your best option is to remain informed of the rules from a trusted source at all times.
DACA is new, and is generally for people who have spent a lot of time hiding their immigration status before they knew that they could take advantage of the opportunity for legal work authorization. Because people have spent a lot of time, some most of their lives, hiding from immigration authorities, they may not know that this DACA program is available to them. Because you have gotten through the process, you should talk to your family and friends and guide them to places that can help them take advantage of the work authorization and deportation deferral that you have received, and you can help and support them through the process.
If you or someone you know is interested in learning more about DACA or checking their eligibility for DACA benefits, our blog is a great place to find up to date information and useful resources. Additionally, if your case is more complex and you would like to speak with a licensed immigration attorney, you can learn more about the benefits of an initial consultation before deciding on the best path for you here.
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