Frequently Asked Questions - Basic Information
Includes basic information about the DREAM Act and related topics.
- I was 16 years old when I entered the country. Do I qualify?
- What is an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN)?
- What would disqualify me from the DREAM Act?
- Does the DREAM Act help students who have not yet graduated high school?
- What is considered 'good moral character'?
- What is Conditional Permanent Residency?
- When will the DREAM Act pass?
The current DREAM Act text states that you needed to be 15 and under when you entered the country. So no, you would not qualify.
An ITIN is predominantly used for tax purposes. People who are not eligible to obtain a Social Security Number, but need to file taxes or for other tax purposes, can apply for an ITIN and use it when they file their yearly tax return. It it NOT a substitute for a SSN, therefore you cannot legally work using an ITIN; you must have a SSN to do that.
ITINs are also used to open bank accounts, apply for credit cards and can even be used to get a cell phone account. Although these things are possible, not every institution will allow it. If you have any questions regarding those issues, please visit the forum, click on the search box and type in what you are looking for.
To apply for an ITIN, please visit the Internal Revenue Service website for more information.
If you do not meet the initial requirements, you are not eligible to apply. If you do meet those requirements, apply, get approved but fail to complete 2 years of college or 2 years in the military,etc. the following applies:
An individual will be disqualified and stripped of the Conditional Permanent Residency if the individual has left the United States for long periods of time (365 days in the aggregate), has not completed the 2 years of college or military service in the 6 allotted years, has become a public charge or has received a dishonorable discharge from the military.
If an individual is disqualified by committing one or more of the items stated above, he or she will return to the previous level of status he or she had prior to receiving conditional permanent residency. For many it would mean returning to undocumented status and would again be subject to deportation.
Those who have not graduated high school, obtained a GED or have not been accepted into college will be able to stay in this country and not be deported if they are enrolled full-time in primary or secondary school and are 12 years of age or older. Once the student has completed high school or obtained a GED, they will then be eligible to apply for Conditional Permanent Residency.
While the DREAM Act has not outlined specific guidelines of what “good moral character” should be, it can be characterized as being a law-abiding resident of the United States. This list may or may not be a comprehensive, however, it is a good way to gauge one’s moral character. For example, some students may have committed minor crimes such as misdemeanors before they turned 18; those minor incidents may not hinder their application process for Conditional Permanent Residency as much as being convicted of a felony would. However, since there are no guidelines, we cannot be 100% positive on which crimes would impact one’s application.
Conditional Permanent Residency is similar to Legal Permanent Residency in that you would be able to work, drive and travel. However, it lasts for only 6 years and you will not be able to travel abroad for long periods of time. The current legislation states that a person can travel abroad up to 365 days in total for the entire 6 years under Conditional Permanent Residency.
You will also be eligible for student loans and federal work-study programs, but will not be eligible for federal financial aid such as Pell Grants.
The DREAM Act legislation has not passed yet. This means that you cannot yet apply.
Every congressional session we hear the same thing - "This is your year! The DREAM Act will pass!" So far, it hasn't happened. We have grown to understand that this will be our year if and only if you take your future into your own hands and pressure our legislators to address the issue by making the DREAM Act bill into a law. We count on your support.
If you would like more information on how a bill becomes a law in the United States, watch the highly entertaining classic episode of School House Rock, and then read From a Bill to a Law as it is presented by the Library of Congress.