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The Complete DACA Renewal Checklist

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The Complete DACA Renewal Checklist

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, more commonly referred to by its acronym “DACA” is an American immigration policy. Through DACA, foreign nationals who were brought to the United States as children are able to receive a renewable deferred action from deportation for a period of two years. DACA recipients can also receive a work permit that grants them the right to work in the United States legally. 

DACA is an executive order that became effective in 2012 under President Barack Obama. It acts as an administrative relief in that it prevents undocumented immigrants who arrived in the United States when they were children from being deported; additionally, DACA recipients receive a number of other rights. 

Under the current administration, the DACA program was closed to new applicants by Donald Trump in March of 2018. As such, new applications are no longer being accepted for the program; however, those who were previously granted DACA can renew their status if they meet the necessary eligibility criteria. 

How often does DACA need to be renewed? What are the eligibility criteria? How do you renew your DACA status? In this guide, you’ll find the answers to these questions and more. 

When to Renew DACA

As previously mentioned, at present time, the DACA program is no longer accepting new applicants; however, if you were previously granted DACA, you can maintain your status. In order to remain valid, DACA must be renewed every two years. The renewal process can be lengthy; therefore, to avoid losing your protections, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) recommend submitting applications for DACA renewal at least 120 days before the expiration date of your current DACA. Additionally, if you have been issued an Employment Authorization Document (EAD or work permit), you should renew it at the same time. 

Given the current situation of the DACA program (it was rescinded by the Trump administration), the fate of this immigration initiative is unknown; therefore, there’s no way to tell how long it will continue to be in place, even for those who have already been granted DACA status. Therefore, if you currently have DACA and your status is set to expire prior to March of 2021, you are strongly urged to apply for renewal as soon as possible. While USCIS does recommend filing for a renewal at least 120 days before your DACA expiration date, they will accept requests for renewal up to 365 days before your status is set to expire. However, do note that there is a chance that USCIS may reject your request for renewal if you file earlier than 150 days before the expiration date of your current DACA status. If that’s the case, USCIS will return your application and provide you with instructions to resubmit your request closer to the expiration date. Regardless, because USCIS does accept requests for renewal up to 365 days in advance, and given the uncertainty of the DACA program, submitting a request for renewal as early as possible is highly recommended. 

What are the DACA Renewal Eligibility Requirements? 

In order to renew your DACA status, you must meet the necessary eligibility requirements; this includes the initial requirements, as well as the renewal requirements. 

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Initial DACA Eligibility Requirements

  • You were under the age of 31 as of June 15, 2012

  • You came to the United States when you were under the age of 16

  • You have continuously lived in the U.S. from June 15, 2017 to the present date

  • You entered the U.S. without undergoing inspection prior to June 15, 2012, or your lawful immigration status expired by June 15, 2012

  • You were physically present in the U.S. on June 15, 2012

  • You were physically present in the U.S. when you made your initial request for deferred action with USCIS

  • You are currently enrolled in school, have graduated from high school, have acquired a GED, or you have been honorably discharged from the United States armed forces or Coast Guard

  • You have never been convicted of a felony offense, a significant misdemeanor, or more than three misdemeanors

  • You are not a threat to public safety of U.S. citizens or a threat to the security of the nation

DACA Renewal Eligibility Requirements

In addition to meeting the above-mentioned requirements for initial DACA approval, you may be eligible to renew your deferred action status if you meet the following requirements: 

  • You have not left the U.S. on or after August 15, 2012 without receiving advance parole

  • You have continuously lived in the U.S. since your most recent request for DACA was submitted and approved 

  • You have not been convicted of a felony, a significant misdemeanor, or three or more misdemeanors

  • You are not a threat to public safety of U.S. citizens or a threat to the security of the nation

How to Apply for DACA Renewal 

To apply for DACA renewal, you will need to complete, sign, and submit several forms with USCIS. 

Form I-821D, Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals

To obtain a copy of Form I-821D, Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, you can visit the Form I-821D page of the USCIS website (uscis.gov/i-821d). You can download and print out a copy of the form. 

With the exception of Part 3, you must complete all parts of Form I-821D that apply to you fully and accurately. If you provide false information, your request for renewal will be denied. If any questions that you are required to answer do not apply to you, you can enter “not applicable” or “N/A”, unless otherwise directed. The instructions for filling out the application are pretty straightforward. Additionally, it’s important that you either type or legibly print your responses in black ink only. You must also provide the necessary biometrics (fingerprinting, photos, etc.)

You do not need to re-submit any documents that you already submitted with your previous DACA applications. With a renewal application, you are only required to submit new documents that pertain to criminal history or removal proceedings that have not been previously submitted with USCIS. Should USCIS require any additional information after receiving your renewal application, they will issue a Request for Evidence and indicate what information you need to provide. 

If you are under the age of 14, a parent or legal guardian may sign the application on your behalf; otherwise, you must sign the application yourself. 

You must also submit the required $495 filing fee with your DACA renewal application. You can pay this fee by check or money order, made out to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (abbreviations, such as “USDHS” and “DHS” will not be accepted).

Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization 

You should also submit Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization when you submit your DACA renewal application to renew your work permit. 

You can obtain a copy of an Application for Employment Authorization (EAD), you can visit the Form I-765 page of the USCIS website; download the application and print it out. Alternatively, you can call the USCIS National Customer Service Center and request to have a copy sent to you (1-800-375-5283).

When filing out your EAD renewal application, make sure that you answer all questions accurately and completely. If a question does not apply to you, an answer of “not applicable” or “N/A” will be accepted. Make sure that you type or legibly print in black ink. Your signature should be handwritten; stamped and typed signatures will not be accepted. You should also include all the documentation and supporting evidence that is required (a copy of the front and back of your most recent EAD card, for example).

You must also submit the $410 filing fee. This fee is non-refundable, regardless of whether USCIS approves or rejects your application for an EAD renewal.  You can pay this fee by check or money order, made out to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (abbreviations such as “USDHS” and “DHS” will not be accepted). 

Form I-765W Worksheet

Form I-765W Worksheet is issued by the Department of Homeland Security and is submitted to USCIS. All DACA recipients who are applying to have their status renewed and their work authorization renewed must submit this form. USCIS uses the information on the I-765 Worksheet to determine if there is an economic need for you to work. 

You must provide the following information on this form: 

  • Your current annual income

  • Your current annual expenses

  • The total current value of your assets

You may also provide an explanation to clarify your current financial situation and your need to work. As with all immigration forms, the information you provide must be correct; if you embellish, there is a good chance that your request for an EAD renewal will be denied. 

Are Additional Documents Required? 

Other than the above-mentioned documents, you are not required to submit any additional documents with your DACA renewal application, unless you have new documents that relate to removal proceedings or criminal charges that have not already been submitted with USCIS in a previous DACA request. 

Do note, however, that USCIS may determine that additional documentation is required after they receive your renewal application. If that’s the case, they will send you a Request for Evidence, which will indicate what additional evidence or documentation you need to submit and where to submit it. 

It’s also important to note that USCIS does reserve the right to contact educational institutions, government agencies, employers, and any other entities or individuals that you have listed on the forms you have submitted or that are associated with you to verify your information. Therefore, it is crucial that the information you provide is accurate and true; issuing false information is a felony offense and is punishable with a monetary fine, a five year prison sentence, or both. Additionally, there is a chance that you will be placed in removal proceedings. 

DACA FAQ

You may have questions about DACA; both initial request and renewal requests. Below, we provide answers to some of the most frequently asked questions regarding DACA. 

Q: Can I submit a DACA application for the first time? 

A: No. As mentioned, in 2018, the Trump administration put a halt to new DACA applications. Therefore, you may only submit an application for DACA renewal, and only if you have been approved for DACA in the past. 

Q: Can I apply for advance paroled? 

No, at the time of writing, USCIS is no longer accepting advance parole applications through the DACA initiative. 

Q: When requesting a renewal, does it matter when my previous DACA expired? 

While anyone who was granted DACA in the past can apply to renew their status, the manner in which you apply for renewal depends on when your DACA expired. 

If your DACA is current (it hasn’t expired), you can request to renew your status by submitting a renewal application, as outlined above. 

If your DACA has been expired for one year or less, you can request to renew your status by submitting a renewal application, as outlined above. 

If your DACA status has been expired for a year or longer, you can request to renew your status; however, you must submit an application for renewal the same as you did when you initially applied for deferred action. That means that you must also submit the necessary evidence that demonstrates that you meet the DACA eligibility requirements. You can also reapply for DACA is DHS cut your previous status short, but again, you will have to apply for renewal the same way you did the first time you applied (you do not have to do this if you are applying for renewal while your status is still current or has been expired for a year or less). 

Q: Can I apply for renewal anywhere in the country? 

A: Yes, you can apply for DACA renewal anywhere in the United States. While California and New York were the first two states to overturn the decision to end renewal application for DACA, you can be located anywhere in the U.S. to reapply. 

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