What is Medical Deferred Action and How Can It Protect You from Deportation

Did you know that you could get a work permit and protection from deportation if you are undocumented and have a medical condition? The humanitarian program called medical deferred action, allows individuals to remain in the country temporarily for medical treatment, ensuring they can access crucial healthcare services without fear of deportation.

However, navigating the process of qualifying for medical deferred action can be complex and daunting. Here’s a concise guide to help understand the eligibility criteria and application process.

Understanding Medical Deferred Action

Medical Deferred Action

Medical deferred action is a discretionary immigration relief granted by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to individuals facing significant medical challenges. It is not a visa or permanent status but rather a temporary reprieve from removal proceedings, allowing individuals to receive essential medical care in the United States.

Eligibility Criteria:

  1. Serious Medical Condition:

The applicant must demonstrate a severe medical condition that requires ongoing treatment or specialized care not available in their home country. Medical documentation from qualified healthcare professionals is crucial to support this claim.

  1. Substantial Harm or Risk to Health:

The individual must provide evidence showing that returning to their home country would result in significant harm or exacerbate their medical condition due to the lack of adequate medical facilities, treatment options, or accessibility.

  1. Continuous Presence:

Applicants must prove they have been continuously present in the United States for a specified period, typically at least one year preceding the date of the application. Any gaps in presence may negatively impact the case.

  1. Adverse Factors:

USCIS considers various factors, including criminal history, immigration violations, and national security concerns. While having a criminal record doesn’t automatically disqualify an applicant, certain convictions may raise red flags.

Application Process:

  1. Submission of Forms:

The applicant must  submit immigration forms and supporting documentation to the USCIS. These forms serve as the primary application for medical deferred action.

  1. Comprehensive Medical Records:

Detailed medical records, including diagnosis, treatment plans, prognosis, and letters from healthcare providers, should accompany the application. These documents are crucial in substantiating the severity of the medical condition and the necessity of treatment in the United States.

  1. Affidavits and Supporting Documents:

Affidavits from family members, friends, or healthcare professionals can provide additional support for the applicant’s case. Any other relevant documentation demonstrating ties to the community or humanitarian considerations should also be included.

  1. Legal Assistance:

Given the complexities of immigration law and the discretionary nature of medical deferred action, seeking legal guidance from experienced immigration attorneys or accredited representatives is highly recommended. They can provide invaluable support in preparing the application, navigating potential challenges, and advocating on behalf of the applicant.


Qualifying for medical deferred action is a challenging process that requires careful documentation, compelling evidence, and legal expertise. While the program offers a temporary reprieve for individuals facing serious health crises, success largely hinges on the strength of the applicant’s case and their ability to meet the eligibility criteria outlined by USCIS. By understanding the requirements and seeking appropriate assistance, eligible individuals can pursue medical treatment in the United States with the assurance of legal protection and support.

Furthermore, Medical Deferred Action’s significance extends beyond mere legal reprieve; it can also play a pivotal role in facilitating organ donation processes for individuals without legal immigration status. To learn more about the intersection of Medical Deferred Action and organ donation, we invite you to read our companion article, available here. In this article, we delve into the profound impact that MDA can have on the lives of those in need of organ transplants, particularly within the immigrant community.

Know that it’s always best to check your options right away with the help of a qualified U.S. immigration lawyer. If you believe you may qualify for MDA, call our office at 630 504-0648. You may also instantly check your eligibility by booking an MDA evaluation with one of our legal assistants for only $29 by clicking here!

Facebook: Qazi Law Offices

Instagram: AbogadaFarrahQazi

LinkedIn: Qazi Law offices