Steps to Renew DACA

Themes/Topics: Law & Policy

Geography: California, National

Audience: Ally, Educator, Undocumented Youth

IMPORTANT NOTE: On July 16, 2021, a Texas judge issued a ruling partially ending the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. Under this ruling, USCIS can accept first-time applications, however, the decision prevents USCIS from approving or processing them. If you file for renewal after your most recent DACA period expired, but within one year of its expiration, a new request is considered a renewal request and will be processed. However, if you file for renewal more than a year after your most recent DACA period expired, USCIS will consider this a “first-time application” and will not process your application.


Overview

U.S Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) continues accepting DACA renewal applications as a result of the Supreme Court decision on June 18, 2020. As noted above, a Texas judge issued a ruling on July 16, 2021 limiting the DACA program, however, most people with DACA who are eligible to renew may continue doing so despite this most recent ruling. Individuals who have had DACA in the past may submit a DACA renewal application so long as they submit their renewal application within one year of their DACA expiration date.

  • If your DACA has not expired or expired less than a year ago, you can submit a DACA renewal application as outlined below.

NOTE: USCIS continues processing DACA renewal applications during the COVID-19 crisis.

Read on to learn how to prepare for your DACA renewal application.

1. Keep Track of Your DACA Expiration Date

Your DACA expiration date is on your I-797, Notice of Action form that you received when your DACA was approved. The expiration date can also be found on your work authorization card.

NOTE: USCIS now extends deferred action and employment authorization documents under DACA to two years.

2. Be Aware of Your Renewal Window

You should submit your DACA renewal request no later than 120 days (4 months) before your expiration date. If you submit your request after the 120-day window, you could be at risk of losing your job and other protections. Do not wait until the last minute to request your renewal, especially now as there is a backlog with processing renewals.

3. Find Your Previous DACA Renewal Application

Your previous DACA renewal application will be a great starting point since it has relevant information needed to complete your new DACA renewal application. Make sure that the information you provide to USCIS is consistent across your DACA applications.

4. Download the Correct Application Forms from USCIS

USCIS will reject applications that use outdated forms, so it is important to use current forms when submitting your renewal request. Please visit the USCIS website to find the following forms in their current versions: (1) Form I-821D, (2) Form I-765; (3) Form I-765WS; and (4) Form G-1145.

5. Fill Out the Application Accurately

The information from your previous DACA renewal application should be used to fill out your new application. If you do not have a copy of your previous application, please refer to USCIS’ Form I-821D Instructions which can be found here.

Another helpful guide is ILRC’s How to Complete a DACA Renewal video.

6. Get Legal Advice

Prior criminal, immigration, fraud or gang issues could be particularly risky. If you have experienced any of these or have questions about your case, seek help from a trusted immigration attorney or Department of Justice accredited representative. Fill out our Immigration Legal Intake Service to learn more about possible immigration options.

7. Create a Cover Letter

A cover letter is useful for the USCIS agent reviewing your application to overview the application package in a glance, and serves as a checklist for you. Please refer to UWD’s sample cover letter as a starting point.

8. Prepare Your DACA Renewal Fees

The total application fee for DACA is $495. Due to USCIS’ uncertain withdrawal time, money orders and cashier’s checks are recommended, but personal checks are accepted. Checks must be made payable to “U.S. Department of Homeland Security.” Do not abbreviate. Cash is not accepted.

Fee exemptions are available, but only to people who meet the stringent requirements.

Financial Assistance:

Reach out to your local immigrant rights organizations and legal service providers to find out if they have any DACA fee assistance available.

Other organizations have established loan programs to cover the cost of applying for DACA:

  • Mission Asset Fund provides a 0% interest, credit-building immigration loan in California to help pay for the DACA fee
  • Self-Help Credit Union has a DACA loan program to help individuals pay for the DACA fee and other application costs

9. Prepare and Send Your Application

When sending your application, it is advised that you (1) do not have the forms stapled (paper clips are preferred) and (2) have it complied in the following order:

  1. $495 Fee
  2. Cover Letter
  3. Completed Form G-1145
  4. Completed Form I-821D
  5. Completed Form I-765
  6. Completed Form I-765WS
  7. Copies of any supporting evidence (including a copy of your last EAD)

The location of the USCIS facility receiving your application will differ based on where you reside. Please use the USCIS reference guide to find the correct location.

We highly recommend that you select a delivery option that allows you to track your package.

10. Track the Status of Your Application

E-Notification Confirmation: If you filled out Form G-1145 you should receive a one-time e-Notification when your application has been received by USCIS.

Paper Receipt Confirmation: You should also receive a paper receipt in the mail within 1-4 weeks of sending your DACA application even if you requested E-Notification.

You can track the progress of your DACA application online here. You may check manually each time or create an account with my.uscis.gov and enable push notifications.

11. Attend a Biometrics Appointment

You should get an appointment notice to visit an Application Support Center (ASC) to have your biometrics taken. Make sure to bring a valid government-issued photo ID (e.g. your passport) to your appointment.

12. Look Out for a Possible Request for Evidence (RFE)

If anything is missing from your application, or if USCIS has questions, you may be mailed a “Request for Evidence” (RFE). You will need to respond to this RFE with additional proof by the deadline given. If you ignore this request, your case will be automatically denied.

13. Await Notification of DACA RENEWAL Approval

The application processing time can take several months. You can track the processing times of all DACA applications here. Additionally, if you have submitted your case within the 150 – 120 day window and have not received a response, your case may be delayed. Click here to learn how you can move your case along.

Once you are notified of your DACA renewal, you will receive a work authorization card valid for two (2) years.

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