DACA Expansion Feb. 18: How to Prove Continuous Residence

Bills, school transcripts, and medical records can all be used to prove continuous residence.
UPDATE FEB. 18, 2015: Immigrants who are eligible for administrative relief should still prepare their applications. The decision by a Texas court judge to temporarily delay the program is largely expected to be overturned in an appeals court.

CARECEN has been offering workshops on the expansion of the DACA program, set to begin on February 18, since President Obama’s announcement of it in November. At these workshops, my staff explains the importance of applicants being able to document their presence in the U.S. since January 1, 2010.

Here is how the memo from the Department of Homeland Security describes this requirement: The applicant must “have lived in the United States continuously since at least January 1, 2010.” This means that the applicant must have been in the United States on January 1, 2010 and resided here ever since. People who arrived after that magic date are not eligible for this program.

To apply for the program, the applicant needs to gather evidence that he or she was here on or before January 1, 2010, and continued to live here afterwards. Usually I ask clients to get three or four pieces of evidence that they were here around the end of 2009. I also like my clients to gather three pieces of evidence from each year they are proving residence, so I am asking them to get me three pieces of evidence from 2010, three from 2011, three from 2012, three from 2013, and three from 2014. Sometimes the person may only have one piece of evidence from a given year. If that is all they have, then they may still be able to successfully apply.

Those attending my workshops want to know what will count as evidence. School records are very good, as are any official documents, including, oddly enough, arrest records. With school records, transcripts for several years will prove your presence here. Two of my favorite proofs are a birth certificate for your child born here or a marriage certificate issued in the U.S. Medical records are very good proofs, as well.

Tax records, bank records, and even utility bills and collection notices are helpful. Envelopes with postmarks might be accepted as well as leases, credit card receipts, and purchase orders. Often overlooked are passports issued by consulates here in the United States.

Essentially, we are looking for documents with your name and a date on them that shows you were in the United States at a specific time.