Renew Your DACA, Here’s How!

FAQ updated 6/5/2014

It’s time––renewals are here!

In June, USCIS updated form I-821D, Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.  If your DACA period is near expiration, you can now re-apply. But don’t worry, the renewal process is a breeze.

Here to help you out is our newly updated DACA renewal FAQ, which should answer all of your burning questions. Still confused? Call ILG at (503) 241-0035. But make sure to read the FAQ first! Seriously, it’s got a lot of information.

Have a specific question? Browse our sections below:

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Who can submit a DACA renewal application? 

If you received DACA on or after August 15th, 2012, continue to meet DACA guidelines and have lived continuously in the U.S. since your first DACA application you are likely to be eligible for DACA renewal.  If you did any foreign travel on or after August 15, 2012, you must have done so with special permission, known as advance parole.  If you have been arrested since you got your DACA, keep reading to find out if you’re eligible.

Haven’t applied for DACA before? Don’t worry! The new renewal Form I-821 is dual-use, which means that you can submit a new application or a renewal application using the very same form. 

What are the DACA guidelines?

You can request DACA if you: were under the age of 31 as of June 15th, 2012, came to the United States before your 16th birthday, have resided in the United States continuously since June 15th, 2007, were in the United States on June 15th 2012 and at the time of your DACA request, and did not have a lawful status on June 15th, 2012. 

Additionally, you must fulfill an educational requirement and must have not been convicted of a felony, significant misdemeanor, or three or more misdemeanors. 

When can I renew my DACA?

You should submit an application form at least 120 days (or about four months) before your current DACA status expires. But don’t file too early! If you submit your request more than 150 days before the expiration of your current DACA period, USCIS might reject your submission.

You can see when your DACA period expires by looking at the front of your Employment Authorization Document, which looks like this

What happens if I submit my new DACA request late?

If you submit your request later than 4 months before the expiration of your current DACA period, your request will still be considered. However, USCIS expects many delays will happen during the renewal process, so they do not recommended that you submit your form later than 120 days before your current period expires. 

If you submit your DACA form on-time and the USCIS is delayed in reviewing it, they may provide you with a DACA extension until your form is processed.

How long is a renewed DACA good for?  

Two years. 

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What form do I need to fill out to renew my DACA?

You will need to submit Form I-821D, Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, edition 06/04/2014. If you submit an earlier edition of Form I-821D, it will not be accepted.  

For Form 1-821D, click here. For instructions, click here.

You will also need to submit Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization and Form I-765 worksheet. But don’t worry! Only Form I-821 is changing from the initial DACA application. 

For Form I-765, click here. For the Form I-765 worksheet, click here. Click here for instructions. 

If you have not applied for DACA before, you will need to submit the same 3 forms. 

Don’t forget to include the DACA fee of $465.

What evidence do I need to submit?

You do not need to re-submit everything that you already included in your previous DACA request.  Make sure to submit any new, updated documents relating to removal proceedings or criminal history. Additionally, keep all documents that were submitted with your first DACA request, so that you can provide them to USCIS if asked.

How much does it cost?

Both renewals and initial applications cost $465. This includes a $380 application fee for Form I-765 and an $85 fee for your fingerprints. 

USCIS does not grant “fee waivers,” but there are a few “fee exemptions.” If you are under 18, do not have familial support, and make less than $17,235 a year (about $360 a week) or are homeless, you may get a fee exemption. If you are disabled and your income is less than 150% of the U.S. poverty level, you also may qualify. Lastly, you may qualify if you have accumulated $10,000 or more in debt because of unreimbursed medical expenses for yourself or your family and your income is less than 150% of the poverty level. 

To check if you qualify for an exemption and for the exemption process, click here. As always, if you are unsure, it is best to speak to an attorney before you apply. 

If you would like to file for an exception, you must send evidence to USCIS. For more guidance on what evidence USCIS will accept, click here.

Where do I file?

DACA requests should be filed at the USCIS lockbox. The mailing address depends on your state of residence, but can be found online

Oregon DACA requests should be sent to the USCIS Chicago lockbox. The address is:

USCIS Chicago Lockbox Facility

USCIS
P.O. Box 5757
Chicago, IL 60680-5757

If you are using USPS Express Mail, send the DACA request to: 

USCIS Chicago Lockbox Facility

USCIS
Attn: DACA
131 S. Dearborn – 3
rd Floor
Chicago, IL  60603-5517

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What if I finished high school or was honorably discharged from the military?

If you graduated from high school or the equivalent, got your GED or were honorably discharged from the military since you got your DACA, then you’ll need to show documentation that proves you completed the educational requirement. If you did all this before you got your initial DACA, then you won’t have to show that you’re enrolled in school.

I graduated HS, should I be in college to be able to renew?

No, you do not have to be in or applying to college to renew DACA. If you have a high school diploma or GED, you are eligible to apply for DACA renewal. 

However, if you are interested in continuing education, DACA status makes it easier to obtain scholarships and financial aid. To learn more about scholarships that can help you afford college, click here

I dropped out of college, can I renew?

If you have a high school diploma or GED, you can apply for renewal. Additionally, if you are a discharged veteran of the U.S. Coast Guard or the U.S. Armed Forces, you are eligible for renewing your application.

I haven’t obtained my GED, can I renew?

As long as you are “currently in school,” you can renew! Understanding what “in school” is can be confusing, but if you are in a private or public elementary, middle, or high school, or if you are currently registered in a government funded education, literacy, vocational, or career training program, you should apply for renewal. 

If you are enrolled in an ESL program aimed at preparing you for job training, employment, or continued education, or if you are enrolled in a program preparing you for your diploma or GED, you may be eligible for DACA renewal.

Unsure about whether the educational program you are enrolled in qualifies for DACA? Make sure to speak to an attorney before you apply, so that you can be certain that you meet the DACA qualifications. 

Do I have to be working in order to renew? 

No. All you need to do to renew is continue to fulfill the initial DACA requirements and stay in the United States. To see all of the requirements for DACA status, click here.

One of the benefits of DACA, however, is an Employment Authorization Document and a Social Security Number; with these documents, you can apply for a variety of jobs which may have increased benefits and salary. To learn more about getting the most out of DACA, watch an educational video

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If I have been arrested or convicted of a criminal offense, can I still renew? How? 

Any changes since your last DACA application, like new additions to your criminal record, must be reported to USCIS. File all new information with your DACA renewal process. However, to renew DACA, you must still meet the initial requirements for DACA status. That means that you must not be a convicted felon and must not have been convicted of a “significant” misdemeanor or three or more misdemeanors. Use discretion––if you have a criminal record, talk to an attorney before submitting an application. 

If I am currently in removal proceedings, can I still apply?

Yes. Anyone who meets DACA guidelines can apply. That means that if you are in removal proceedings or have been in removal proceedings, you should still file for DACA!

You cannot apply for DACA from within immigration detention; however, if you are detention and believe that you may qualify for DACA, contact your deportation officer, Jail Liaison, or ICE Field Office Director. They will review your case, and if they determine that you meet DACA requirements, you may be released (with supervision) to apply. 

If your deportation officer is not available, it is best to contact ICE Detention Reporting and Information at 1-888-351-4024 or email ERO.INFO@ice.dhs.gov.

Do I need an attorney to apply?

You never have to hire an attorney to apply for immigration benefits. However, if you have a criminal history of any kind, it’s a good idea to get some legal advice before turning in an immigration application. If you’ve had trouble staying enrolled in or graduating from your educational program, it might also be a good idea to get some legal advice.

How do I find a reputable attorney or help?

You can call ILG at (503) 241-0035 to set up a consultation with one of our attorneys. If you are not sure if you need a consultation, it is best to call the office anyway, and we can direct you through the best course of action for your specific case. 

If a person with DACA is in the process of applying for another immigration benefit, should they still renew?

If you are filing for relief or protection in an immigration court, and you are also eligible to renew DACA, you may still apply for DACA renewal. DACA includes many benefits alongside deportation relief, and any other immigration benefits will not detract from your DACA application.  If you are applying for a visa through a family-based petition or a u-visa, you may still want to apply for DACA. Talk it over with your attorney.

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What’s the point of renewing my DACA––will it get me my green card?

If you renew your DACA, you’ll have two more years of status and employment authorization in the U.S. No one is sure what will happen in another two years. There is currently no path to permanent residency or citizenship for DACA holders. Immigration reform lingers near the top of President Obama’s agenda, and lawmakers have promised to take up the issue of immigration reform in 2014. But like you, we’re waiting to see what–if anything–happens with regard to immigration reform in the coming months.

If I don’t renew, what will happen? 

You won’t have deferred status in the United States. That means that you will not obtain any of the benefits to DACA, like a Social Security Number, work permit, and two year period of deferred deportation. This can help you to get a driver’s license, higher-paying job, student loans,  or scholarships.  You will also accrue unlawful presence in the United States, which could affect other immigration applications you submit in the future.

If my request is denied, what will happen? 

Unfortunately, you cannot appeal USCIS’ decision. If your DACA application is not approved, you will not receive any of the benefits of DACA, and you will no longer have deferred deportation. However, you can apply again for your DACA, even if your first DACA application is denied.

If you think that USCIS made an error in your case, call 1-800-375-5283 to create a service request to review your application. 

Living without DACA makes it harder to get a job or afford school. But you still have options, even if your request is not approved by the USCIS. Check out how to get a bank account without a SSN here, and look through your scholarship options here

What if I didn’t receive DACA from USCIS?

Are you one of a few individuals who received DACA from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)? If so, you can also renew your DACA request now. Follow the same renewal steps as all other applicants. However, be aware––if you were granted DACA by ICE, your DACA status will be expiring very soon! Apply now to make sure you continue DACA coverage.

Even if you didn’t initially apply for DACA but think you are eligible, it is important to apply! To learn more about getting the most out of DACA, click here.