United We Dream and the National Immigration Law Center created the following answers to frequently asked questions.
NO. If you have never had DACA before, you cannot submit an application.
NO. USCIS will not accept advance parole applications from DACA recipients.
YES. If you were granted DACA, you may submit an application to renew your DACA. You must also meet the following requirements in order to qualify for DACA renewal:
- You must not have departed the U.S. on or after August 15, 2012, without first having been granted advance parole.
- You must have resided continuously in the U.S. from the time you submitted the initial request for DACA up until the present time.
- You must not have been convicted of a felony, a significant misdemeanor, or three or more misdemeanors, and must not otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety.
Though the first two U.S. district courts that ordered USCIS to resume accepting DACA renewal applications are located in California and New York, their orders and the renewal process announced by USCIS apply nationwide.
USCIS has reopened the DACA renewal application process for anyone who previously had DACA, including those whose DACA has expired. However, the process for applying varies depending on when your DACA expired.
If at the time you apply for renewal your DACA is current, meaning it has not expired, then you can request to renew your DACA by filling out the application as a renewal application.
If at the time you apply for renewal your DACA has been expired for one year or less, then you can request to renew your DACA by filling out the application as a renewal application.
If at the time you apply for renewal your DACA has been expired for more than one year, you may request to renew your DACA, but you must fill out the application as if you were applying for the first time. And you must submit evidence showing that you meet each DACA eligibility guideline.
If you had DACA and your period with DACA was cut short by DHS (that is, if DHS terminated your DACA), you can apply again for DACA by filling out your DACA application as if you were applying for the first time. In this case, too, you will be required to submit evidence showing that you meet each DACA eligibility guideline.
When the announcement that DACA was being terminated was made, USCIS imposed the limitation that only people whose DACA expiration dates fell between September 5, 2017, and March 5, 2018, would be allowed to reapply, but that rule does not apply to the process announced on January 13, 2018.
Currently, USCIS is accepting and processing DACA applications submitted by people whose DACA expires more than 150 days after they submit their application. Early in the DACA program, USCIS stated that it would reject DACA renewal applications from such people. Later, USCIS encouraged DACA recipients to complete their renewal application during the 120-to-150–day window before expiration, to provide enough time for processing and to avoid a lapse in their DACA, but USCIS did not reject renewal applications from people who submitted them more than 150 days before their DACA expired. Since January 2018, USCIS has been accepting (and not rejecting) applications for renewal from people whose DACA will expire more than 150 days after the date they submit their application.
However, before you submit a renewal application more than 150 days before your DACA expires, we urge you to speak with an attorney or an accredited representative to discuss the benefits and risks of applying early. We suggest that you consider these issues:
• If you apply early, USCIS could deprioritize your application and, while you’re waiting for your case to be processed, the option to renew may end. If the option to renew ends, USCIS may “grandfather in” already-accepted applications and continue processing them or USCIS may stop processing already-accepted applications and may return the application fees that were submitted with the unprocessed applications (like what happened when DACA and advance parole for DACA recipients were terminated in September 2017).
• If you apply early and are granted DACA renewal, your “new” DACA and work permit may start being valid before your “old” DACA and work permit expire. Nevertheless, your new work permit will expire two years after its date of approval. Anecdotally, we know that it’s taking USCIS about 3-5 months to adjudicate individual applications, but processing times that USCIS reports online indicate that some cases are taking longer.
• Example: Your current DACA and work permit expire on March 2, 2020. The date that’s 150 days (about 5 months) before your DACA expiration date is October 3, 2019. You submit your DACA renewal application “early,” on August 1, 2019, and USCIS accepts it. USCIS grants your DACA renewal on December 3, 2019, which means that your renewed DACA and work permit will expire two years later, on December 3, 2021. Therefore, by applying for renewal on August 1, 2019, rather than waiting until closer to October 3, 2019 (the 150-day mark), you got a total of 21 (rather than 24) more months of permission to remain in the U.S. and work authorization.
If you decide to go ahead and apply now, we recommend doing so as soon as possible. Future developments in DACA-related court cases may make it harder or impossible to renew DACA. Information about the status of DACA-related court cases and how decisions and orders in these cases affect the DACA program is available at www.nilc.org/daca-litigation-timeline/ and www.nilc.org/daca/ (look under the Litigation tab).
To prepare to apply to renew your DACA:
• It’s crucial to weigh the pros and cons of applying at this time. You must consider the possibility that a court order may stop USCIS from continuing to accept applications before or even while your application is pending, which means you may risk losing the $495 fee you must pay when you file the application. If this were to happen, USCIS may “grandfather in” already-accepted applications and continue processing them or USCIS may stop processing already-accepted applications and may return the application fees that were submitted with the unprocessed applications (like what happened when DACA and advance parole for DACA recipients were terminated in September 2017).
• It’s important that the information in the renewal request be consistent with the information provided in your initial application and any past renewal applications. Therefore, we recommend that when preparing your renewal application now, you refer to a copy of your initial and renewal DACA applications, if that’s possible. You should also make a copy of the current renewal application before you submit it.
• You must have put aside $495 to pay the renewal application fees. If you are having trouble paying the fees, consider creating a GoFundMe campaign and applying for a grant from United We Dream’s DACA Renewal Fund.
• If you have received legal citations, been arrested, or been criminally charged or convicted since initially receiving DACA, you must gather evidence of these contacts with law enforcement or the courts. We highly recommend speaking to an attorney or an accredited representative prior to applying, because given changes in who is considered an “immigration enforcement priority,” the risks associated with applying may be different if you have had interactions with law enforcement.
• If you have a deportation order, a voluntary departure order, or an administratively closed immigration case, we highly recommend speaking to an attorney or an accredited representative before you apply. Given the change in who is now considered an “immigration enforcement priority,” the risks associated with applying may have changed.
• If you are currently in exclusion, deportation, or removal proceedings, you must submit any new documents related to your case, unless you already submitted them to USCIS when you first applied for DACA or unless your case was administratively closed. We recommend speaking to an attorney or an accredited representative before you apply to assess how applying for DACA will affect your case.
If your DACA expired, you can request to renew your DACA but you must fill out an initial application. If you had DACA and your DACA issuance was cut short by DHS (meaning DHS terminated your DACA), you can renew your DACA, but you have to fill out an initial DACA application. Information about the requirements and process for an initial application is available at www.nilc.org/faqdeferredactionyouth/ Be sure to include the date your DACA expired on Part 1 of the Form I-821D.
If your DACA expired, you may submit a DACA renewal application. The renewal application requires filling out and submitting the same forms as before: Form I-821D, Form I-765 Application for Employment Authorization, and Form I-765WS Worksheet. NOTE the forms have been updated and you want to use the latest versions to avoid any delays. In the bottom left corner of each page of the latest version of Form I-821D, the following is printed:
- Form I-821D
- Form I-765 Application for Employment Authorization
- Form I-765 WS Worksheet
When you’re submitting a renewal application, you must fill out all sections of the forms and answer all the questions except those designated “For Initial Requests Only.” You must also submit any new documents relevant to your removal proceedings or criminal history that you have not submitted previously.
USCIS asks that no additional documents be sent, not even proof that you have resided continuously in the U.S. since you received DACA. USCIS advises that you keep all documents that provide evidence that you meet all the guidelines. USCIS reserves the right to ask you for additional information, documents, and statements to verify information on your DACA renewal application. USCIS also reserves the right to contact government agencies and others to verify the information provided in the application.
NOTE: If your DACA was granted initially by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and not USCIS, you must fill out all the sections and answer all the questions on the forms and submit all supporting documentation as if you were filing an initial request. The completed forms and supporting documentation must then be submitted to USCIS.
The renewal request costs $495. In very limited circumstances, applicants may be exempted from having to pay the fees.
Regardless of whether your initial DACA was adjudicated by ICE or by USCIS, you must submit your application for renewal to USCIS. Where, specifically, you must send your application depends on where you live. Check USCIS’s “Direct Filing Addresses for Form I-821D, Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals” for the correct mailing address.
It is a risk to apply. Speak to an attorney or a BIA–accredited representative about your case. Due to how the government’s immigration enforcement priorities changed in January 2017 and the possibility that the current renewal process may be available only for a limited time, it is best to speak with an immigration expert before applying. Even if the incident happened before you applied and received DACA in the past and you revealed them in previous applications for DACA, the enforcement priorities have changed and you are at risk of being referred to ICE by applying.
It is a risk to apply. Speak to an attorney or a BIA–accredited representative about your case. Due to the enforcement priorities changing in January of 2017, if you had any interaction with an immigration judge or immigration court, you want to speak to an immigration expert. Even if these events happened before you applied and received DACA in the past and you revealed them in previous applications for DACA, the enforcement priorities have changed and you are at risk of being referred to ICE by applying.
YES. You can apply for renewal even if your last application was rejected specifically due to not meeting the October 5, 2017 deadline.
We can’t know for certain how long it will take USCIS to process your application, but we know from reports by DACA applicants that lately USCIS has been processing cases in a timely manner, within its initial goal of 120 days. If you have submitted your renewal application but are concerned because your DACA and work authorization have expired or will expire before your DACA is renewed, consider following the steps described in the resource Steps to Take if Your DACA Renewal Is Delayed.
Download a printable version of these Frequently Asked Questions.