Unlawful presence is the period of time an individual is in the United States without being admitted or paroled, OR after the expiration of a period of stay granted by DHS. Unlawful presence is relevant for the purpose of determining whether the inadmissibility bars (3 year or 10 year bars) apply to an individual who departs the United States and afterwards tries to reenter.
Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program allows certain individuals who entered the United States as children to remain in the United States and continue their education or work legally for a two-year period (and possibly longer depending on politics and renewals). DACA is not a “legal status.” However, it does stop the accrual of “unlawful presence.” This is especially important for those who have not yet turned 18. If you are under 18 and want to apply for DACA, then you should consider doing so as soon as possible to realize the full potential of the program and potentially be able to depart and return to the United States with permanent resident status or at least temporary work visa status in the future.
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