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What to expect after a DACA decision is made?

What kind of decision can I expect from USCIS?  How long will it take to get my decision?  And what happens afterwards?

If an application for DACA is approved, the approval notice will be valid for 2 years from the date of approval.  Presently, the USCIS will permit DACA status to be renewed by filing a renewal application.  If your DACA application is approved, there are several important points to keep in mind:

  1. The approval notice will be valid for 2 years from the date of approval, subject to renewal.
  2. You may not travel outside the United States on DACA status alone.  In order to travel outside the United States, you must pay for, apply for and be granted travel authorization.  Travel authorization is appropriate for humanitarian, educational, or employment purposes.  Traveling internationally with DACA status might trigger penalties to permanent immigration status, however.  Individuals are encouraged to seek advice from a good lawyer before seeking travel permission.
  3. Confusingly, DACA status is not lawful status for legal purposes.  DACA status, though, is a valid status.  With DACA status, you will not be deported, should not be detained, may work lawfully, and travel within the United States without fear.  However, DACA status does not convert to permanent status, does not create a pathway to permanent status, and does not erase prior “unlawful presence.”  Unlawful presence is a legal term — if someone has unlawful presence in the United States, he or she may be penalized when they seek a permanent or temporary lawful immigration status (such as “permanent residence”).
  4. Work authorization should be included in the approval of DACA status if your application contained evidence of “economic necessity” — that you have an economic need to work.

If your application is denied, then:

  1. You may not appeal the decision
  2. You may seek a review of the decision using the USCIS customer service unit if you didn’t get a required notice (and USCIS had your current address) or your responded to USCIS required notices but USCIS failed to take into account your response.
  3. ICE should not start deportation proceedings unless there are valid criminal or security reasons for doing so.  Keep in mind, ICE could start removal proceedings at anytime and the present policy is not a permanent policy — ICE could change the policy.