Your DACA Renewal Plan!
DACA Renewal Plan:
United We Dream’s DACA team has got you covered! We have put together everything you need to know to apply for DACA renewal in one easy, step by step, “DACA Renewal Plan” just for YOU. It’s everything you need to know, broken down, step by step.
Although the renewal process is pretty straightforward for most people, it’s very important that you get it right and submit on time to ensure that your DACA doesn’t expire. Our DACA Renewal Plan will help make sure you’re on track for DACA renewal success, read over it carefully and follow these steps.
STEP 1. Know Your DACA Renewal Ideal Application Zone and your key DACA dates:
The first step is figuring out when YOU should submit your DACA renewal application. Everyone will have a different time to submit based on their unique DACA expiration date. And its very important that you know your time to apply and submit on time so that you don’t fall out of status.
When should YOU apply?
You should apply for DACA renewal between 150 days (5 months) – 120 days (4 months) before your DACA expires. This is the period in which USCIS recommends people apply. Think of this as your “Ideal Application Zone”. Applying during this 1-month “ideal zone” will help ensure that you get your DACA renewed on time before your current DACA expires.
Important DACA dates
- You can submit your DACA renewal application starting on 150 days or 5 months before your DACA expiration date
- Your ideal application zone is from between 150-120 days (5-4 months) before your DACA expiration date
- You will receive a notice from USCIS 100 day before your expiration date if you have not applied bay then
- You can apply for a renewal up to 1 year after your DACA expiration date as a renewal applicant.
Check out everything you need to know about your DACA renewal application timeline by clicking here. Learn about the deadlines, what they mean, and request your own personalized overview of important dates based on your unique expiration date.
STEP 2. Get the money you need to pay for the DACA fees:
The DACA renewal fee is $495, the same fee you paid the first time. Plus the additional costs if you choose to apply with a lawyer or legal service organization.
You need to make a plan to get the money together so that you can apply on time within your ideal application zone. You don’t want to delay applying because you don’t have the money. Don’t let that happen! Your DACA team is here to help and connect you to the resources you need to make sure you are ready and have the money you need to apply on time.
There are different ways you can get together the money you need, and you may not have to pay the whole cost out of pocket. Its important that know all your options and make the best plan for you and your family. Check out the link above for detailed instructions and below for a quick overviw.
- Save money: To get the money you need to apply, you’re going to need to start saving some money. How?
- First, calculate how much you need to save a month from now until the date when you plan to apply using this handy Savings Calculator
- Second, make a commitment to start saving and build a “DACA Fee Fund”. Incorporate small steps and lifestyle changes to save.
- Fundraise: Time to get creative and use your connections!
- Borrow money: You can take out a loan and borrow money to pay the DACA fees. You have many options including banks, credit unions, and lending circles. Each loan is different so be careful. Did you know there are even things such as “Dreamer or DACA loans”?
- Apply for a USCIS fee exemption: USCIS gives out fee exemptions to cover the $495 DACA fee to a very small number of people in certain specific situations.
Step 3. Create your “DACA folder”:
Will you be ready to apply for your DACA renewal? Will you have everything you need? Your going to need to collect different forms, documents, information, and other items to submit your renewal. How can you make sure you keep everything organized and have everything you need so you can submit on time? Create a DACA folder!
What’s a DACA folder? Its a safe, secure place for you to keep all the information, documents, and forms you will need for your DACA renewal application organized in one place. This is not a time for you to be disorganized. Remember- this is your DACA and your future, take charge and own it! Creating a DACA Folder will help make sure you’re on track for DACA renewal success.
Your DACA team at United We Dream has created a “DACA Folder Toolkit” with everything you need! It has with all the info on what should go in your DACA folder, step by step instructions on how to build it and on how to get the documents, forms, and info you need. Also has checklists and worksheets to help you in the process and a video to teach you everything.
What are some of the items you need to get together?
- Copies of work permit (front and back)
- Copy of Social Security Card
- Your Initial DACA application
- 2 Passport photos
- List of previous addresses for past two years
- Change of address form with USCIS
- Estimates of your annual income, expenses, and assets (for I-765W)
- Copies of ID’s, other important documents:
- Paper copies of renewal forms:
- Plus more
Step 4. Find out what paperwork you need to submit:
Do you remember applying for DACA the first time and how much evidence needed? Most of us mailed in a big packet, right? Good news! Most of us will not have to do that again.
There are some great changes from the first time you applied to make it easier, but there is still a long list of forms, information, and other items you need. Some of us will have less paperwork to submit than others. It all depends on your specific situation.
FIRST, figure out if your situation requires you to submit additional evidence, documents, or information.
These 4 groups of people need to send in additional evidence with their renewal application:
- If you have an open case now in immigration court.
- If you had any kind of trouble or contact with the police since you got DACA.
- If you were granted DACA by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
- If you have left the country after you received DACA without receiving permission from the government (like “advance parole”) before you left.
IMPORTANT: If you are in any of the above situations, we highly recommend that you get legal help before applying for DACA renewal. You may need help in deciding if it is safe to apply and what documents you need to send.
SECOND, Get together the items that everyone needs. Everyone will need to submit a copy of his or her work permit (front and back). This is the only document most people will need to submit. If you don’t have your work permit, you can send in your work permit approval notice.
Step 5. Figure out if you need to see a lawyer and choose how you want to apply:
The last part of your DACA Renewal Plan- submitting your renewal application. But hold on! Do you know all your options? Do you need a lawyer? Can you apply on your own? What the best option for you and how can you find out? Your DACA team at United We Dream is here to help figure that out.
You can apply with a lawyer or other legal representative, you can find and attend group clinic event, or you can even apply on your own. The choice is up to you, but you need to be smart as you consider your options and make the most informed decision for you and your case. Remember- this is your DACA and your case – the choice is yours, own it!
You must always get legal help BEFORE applying for DACA renewal if you: have an open case now in immigration court, have you had any new trouble or contact with the police since you got DACA, were granted DACA by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), or if you have you left the country after you received DACA without receiving permission from the government (like “advance parole”) before you left.
Get Legal Help: Are you required to seek legal help? Not necessarily, it’s a choice and the choice is up to you. (Unless are in any of the situations listed above.) It depends on your specific case and your comfort level with the process and the application.
If you choose to get legal help for your DACA renewal, you can go to a Non-Profit Legal Service Organization (These organizations have attorneys and officially accredited staff and typically help people at low or no cost. Or you can hire a Licensed Private Immigration Attorney (individuals with a license to practice law). You do not need to go back to the same attorney who did your first DACA application.
Attend an Own the Dream Campaign Clinic: Our Own the Dream DACA teams and other groups have free legal clinics all around the country organized by Dreamers like you! By coming to our free clinics you will receive help preparing your application from immigration attorneys.
Applying on Your Own: It is possible to complete and submit your DACA renewal application on your own. But WARNING! You do so at your own risk! Whether you choose to do this is up to you and it depends on your comfort level with the process and the application.
United we Dream and our partner the Immigrant Advocates Network, has created a FREE online tool to help DACA applicants fill out and complete the DACA renewal applications. If you choose to apply on your own, you can use this tool to help you. Or you can also apply on your own using regular paper forms.