When applying for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), you'll submit supporting documents with your forms to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Your DACA supporting documents will prove to USCIS that the information you provided on your application is correct and confirm that you qualify to apply for DACA. One of the requirements to qualify for DACA is continuous residence in the United States. This article explains what continuous residence is and what the continuous residence requirement is for DACA. It also discusses the documents you can submit to prove your continuous residence on your DACA application.
What is the continuous residence requirement for DACA?
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has several eligibility guidelines for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) applicants. When you apply for DACA, you’ll need to prove “continuous residency.” Continuous residence means that you lived in the United States over a specific period of time. To gain DACA status, you must have continuously lived in the United States since June 15, 2007. Travel abroad may disrupt your continuous residence. When you apply for DACA, you’ll also need to meet the physical presence requirement. You must have been physically present in the United States on June 15, 2012.
It’s possible that you maintained continuous residence but weren’t physically present in the country on June 15, 2012. It could also be that you were physically present in America on June 15, 2012 but have not maintained continuous residence since June 15, 2007. According to the USCIS policy manual, If you’ve only met one of the requirements, you won’t meet the qualifying requirements to apply for DACA.
How do you prove continuous residence on your DACA application?
There are many different documents and records that you can use to prove years of continuous residence for your Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) application. You should organize your documents chronologically and provide evidence of a period of continuous residence from June 2007 to the date of filing. You should provide evidence for each month within this period.
You can use medical, dental, or vision appointment records, immunization records, dated doctor’s notes, and prescription records to help prove continuous residence. You can call your doctor’s office or your school to request past immunization records. To obtain doctor’s notes or appointment and prescription records, you can contact your doctor’s office or hospital.
You can also use school documents to prove continuous residence. School documents include diplomas, degrees, school transcripts, attendance records, progress reports, and awards. Any of these documents that have the date on them will work. You can contact administrators at your current and previous schools to get your school documents.
Employment records are another good way to prove your continuous residence in the United States. You can use your W-2s (Wage and Tax Statements), pay stubs, union records, and letters from your employers. You can ask your employer for a copy of your W-2 forms. If you’re a member of a worker union, you can also ask your union representative for any union records.
Rent receipts or utility bills
Another way to prove continuous residence is through providing rent receipt or utility bill payment documents. You can get these documents by asking your landlord and utility providers for copies of old receipts and invoices. Your rent and utility receipts may be under someone else’s name. In this case, you can still use these documents if you include proof that you live in the same household together.
Deeds, mortgages, or rental agreement contracts
You can also use deed, mortgage, and rental agreement records to prove your continuous residence. If you ask, your property manager should be able to send you a copy of your rental agreement contract. You can request a copy of your mortgage agreements by writing a letter to your mortgage provider. You can also get a copy by asking for one from your mortgage lender.
The attorney or firm who settled your escrow may also be able to provide a copy. You can also see your original mortgage agreement at your County Recorder’s office. You may be able to pay a fee to get a copy of the agreement. DACA applicants can also submit mortgage payment records. Your mortgage payments may be under someone else’s name. In this case, you can still use these records if you prove that you live in the same household together.
Social media records
You may be able to use social media records to help you prove continuous residence. You or a friend may have tagged your U.S.-based location in past social media posts. Facebook also allows you to save “Check-ins” whenever you relocate. You should review your posts and any posts your friends have tagged you in for this information.
Subscription records can help supplement your other documents proving continuous residence. Gym membership contracts and subscription service bills are both useful. You should contact your gym or subscription providers to ask for any available records.
Dated bank transactions
Your bank or financial institution may be able to give you copies of your past deposits, withdrawals, transfers, and debit or credit card records. If these records have dates, they can help prove continuous residence.
Religious ceremony records
You may have participated in a religious ceremony in the United States. This could include things like a baptism at your local church. In this case, you can use official records or affidavits from your religious institution to confirm your presence.
Your U.S.-born children’s birth certificates
Some DACA applicants may have U.S.-born children. If this applies to you, you can use your children’s birth certificates to help prove a continuity of residence. If you don’t already have copies of their birth certificates, there are several other ways to obtain copies. You may find copies of your children’s birth certificates in their school records. You can contact their schools to ask for any documents. You can also find directions on requesting birth certificates on the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s website. Note that there may be a fee to request birth certificates.
Passport entry and exit dates
You may also be able to use photocopies of your passport, travel documents, or reentry permits showing your entry and exit dates. If you don’t have your passport or need copies of your previous passports, you can contact your Embassy in the United States. You should look for consulate services on your Embassy’s website to request copies of your old passports.
Vehicle license receipts or registration
Vehicle registration records are another possible way to help prove your continuous residence. You can provide your vehicle registration card as one piece of evidence. If you’ve lost your card, you can request a replacement registration card. Note that there may be a fee to request a replacement. You should visit your State’s Department of Motor Vehicles website to find out how to request license and registration documents.
Your insurance policy records are another valuable resource for proving continuous residence. You can use your car, homeowner’s, and life insurance policy records. Your homeowner’s insurance records may be beneficial since they contain dates and other documentation that you can use to prove continuous residence.
Tax receipts can also help you prove your continuous residence in the United States. You can use any federal, state, property, charitable, or income tax receipts submitted to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Be aware that a property tax receipt can only prove residence for a month instead of an entire year period. If you don’t have copies of your tax returns, you can obtain copies by visiting the IRS website or your state’s website. You can find property tax receipts by requesting a duplicate tax receipt on your county tax office’s website.
Your immigration records are another way to help you prove your continuous residence. You can request your “A-file” under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). Your A-file is a collection of all the immigration-related records that U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has on you. You can visit USCIS.gov’s website to request your A-file. Other immigration records that you can use are your Form I-94 (Arrival/Departure records) or your Notice to Appear (NTA), removal orders, or other deportation-related documents. You can request any other relevant immigration documents from Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) under FOIA.
How to fill gaps in your evidence for continuous residence
You may have gaps in your evidence for continuous residence. If you can’t provide a document proving your residence for each month between June 2007 and the date of filing, try to have at least one record for every three months. There are ways to explain any gaps you might have. You can provide “affidavits” with your evidence to fill these gaps. These affidavits can be letters from immediate family members, employers, community members, or other relevant individuals. You must submit two or more affidavits for each gap.
Other individuals (besides the affidavit authors) must affirm the affidavits. They should have direct knowledge of your whereabouts during any gaps. Note that you can only use affidavits to explain gaps. You can’t use affidavits to meet the entire continuous residence requirement.
You may wish to work with an immigration attorney to help make the application process more manageable. In this case, you can find legal advice for no or at a low cost on the U.S. government’s Legal Aid website.
Applying for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) can be complicated, but working with a good immigration attorney can make it easier. If you can't afford the attorney fees and don't want to handle your DACA case alone, we may be able to help. If you are eligible, our free web app will walk you through the process and help you prepare and file your application with the U.S. government. Click "Get Started" to see how we can help make your American dream come true!