How to Prepare for DACA Renewal

If you’re an undocumented resident and are part of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, you must take action to renew your status on time. Your DACA paperwork needs periodic updating so that you can continue working, going to school, and living in the United States without the threat of deportation. 

If your two years are nearly up, you must file Form I-821D and submit your associated fees. Ensuring you have everything you need to renew your DACA is crucial, and they can take a long time to process, so don’t wait until the last minute. Here’s what you need to ensure you’re prepared for your DACA renewal.

When Should I Renew My DACA Status?

If your two years of deferred action and employment authorization are almost up, it’s about time for you to renew your request for DACA. 

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) recommends that DACA recipients seeking status renewal should do so at least five months (150 days), but no later than four months (120 days) before your employment authorization document (EAD) and current DACA lapse.

Don’t Wait Too Long to Renew

Please note that in July 2021, a Texas judge issued a ruling partially ending DACA. According to this ruling, first-time applications can be accepted by the USCIS; however, they won’t be processed under the decision. 

If you wait to file for your renewal more than a year after your most recent DACA period expires, you will have to submit a new initial request. USCIS will then consider you a “first-time” applicant, and they will not process your DACA form.

What Is the Current Wait Time for DACA Renewals?

The USCIS’s current goal is to process DACA renewal requests within 120 days. This is the current minimum wait time for DACA renewal requests. This means you should have your paperwork sent to them much sooner than this!

Review this DACA renewal guide to ensure you have all your paperwork in order and avoid time without status. If you lose your DACA status, you could find yourself in serious trouble with your employment!

What Happens if I Don’t Receive My DACA Renewal in Time?

If you submit your finalized renewal application less than 120 days before your current EAD and DACA expire, your application will still be accepted by USCIS. However, depending on how late you applied for your renewal, your DACA protection status may lapse for several weeks while it’s being processed, and there are consequences.

Unless you were under 18 years of age when you submitted your renewal request, you would accrue unlawful presence for the time between periods of deferred action.

You also may not work in the United States regardless of your age at the time of filing until you receive a new Employment Authorization Document from the USCIS.

If your DACA renewal request has been pending for more than 105 days and you have not heard from the USCIS, you can contact them through the USCIS Customer Contact Center or send a message from your USCIS online account inbox.

What if I File for DACA Renewal Too Late?

The USCIS notes that if you renew DACA within one year after your expiration date, you can still submit a request to renew your current DACA. However, if you file beyond this one-year extension, you’ll need to submit a new initial DACA request.

red pen writing renew daca on calendar
A red pen writing “Renew DACA” on a calendar. Preparing to renew your DACA protection on time with the correct documents can be confusing. Renew with FileRight.com.v

Who Can Apply for Renewal of Deferred Status?

If you fulfill the initial 2012 Department of Homeland Security (DHS) guidelines, you can apply for DACA Renewal if you also meet all the following requirements:

  • You haven’t left the United States on or since August 15, 2012. However, you could be excused from this requirement if you received advance parole, or permission, to leave the country during that time.
  • You’ve lived continuously in the U.S. since your last approved DACA application.
  • You haven’t been convicted of a crime that would disqualify you from the deferred action program. This can include a significant misdemeanor, three or more misdemeanors, or a felony. 
  • You don’t pose a threat to public safety or national security.

If you were granted the initial deferred status request and fulfilled the above criteria, you could renew your deferred status. According to DACA, applying for renewal of deferred status is similar to completing the initial application.

united states employment authorization card (ead) with highlighted expiration date
A United States Employment Authorization Card (EAD) with a highlighted expiration date. To avoid employment interruptions, make sure you renew your EAD promptly.

How Do I Prepare for My DACA Renewal?

To apply for renewal of deferred status, you must download and submit the Application for Consideration of DACA; however, that is only part of the process. To be fully prepared for your DACA renewal, you should also:

  • Keep tabs on your DACA expiration date: You can find the expiration date on your EAD (work permit) and the Form I-797 you received when your DACA was approved. 
  • Track down your previous DACA renewal application: Using your previous DACA application will help you complete your new form because it has information that you can use to complete your new DACA form. 
  • Create a cover letter: Using a cover letter is helpful for the USCIS agent examining your application package to check it at a glance. It also provides you with a packet checklist.

Additionally, you can ensure you’re prepared for your DACA renewal by:

Using Accurate Forms for Renewing DACA

It’s essential to prepare the correct forms for renewing your DACA status. If you fail to submit the following documents along with the correct fees, the USCIS could reject your renewal request. These forms include:

  • Form I-821D: Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. When completing this form, pay close attention to questions relating to the renewal of deferred status. 
  • Form I-765: Application for Employment Authorization 
  • I-765WS: The USCIS requires this worksheet to determine whether you have an economic need to work. On this form, you’ll list your current annual income, expenses, and the value of your assets.

You can download these forms from the USCIS website and fill them out on your own; however, this can be confusing. 

Instead, you can use our online software to help you complete your application. Our streamlined system automatically fills in the answers, checks them for errors, and only asks questions about you and your unique circumstances.

Additionally, to receive an e-Notification that USCIS has received your DACA and employment authorization forms, you can fill out Form G-1145, E-Notification of Application/Petition Acceptance. Be sure to paperclip it to the front side of your Form I-821D.

Knowing if You Need Additional Documentation

You do not always have to file additional documents when you apply for your deferred action plan renewal. The only situations when you must submit other documents are when: 

  • You have been convicted of a criminal offense or related documents involving a criminal history you hadn’t already submitted to the USCIS.
  • You received additional documents from the immigration authority regarding removal proceedings or other issues involving your case.
  • You have not filed the required document when submitting the initial application for deferred status.

You should also submit proof of any advance parole documents you have used since you filed your last DACA request, along with any evidence of legal name changes. 

Promptly Responding to a Request for Evidence

A request for evidence is a notice from USCIS for more documentation to support your renewal request. It’s vital to respond to these quickly to keep your DACA. If you do not respond to it in a timely manner, your renewal may be delayed or denied. Additionally, if you fail to submit these forms along with the correct fees, the USCIS will reject your request.

Making Sure You Include the Appropriate Fees for DACA Renewal

There is no filing fee for Form I-821D; however, you must include a $495 payment. This amount covers $85 for biometric services and $410 for your employment authorization form. 

Unfortunately, these DACA renewal fees can’t be waived, though fee exemptions are possible to individuals who meet stringent requirements.

If you live outside the U.S. or any of its territories, check with your U.S. Embassy or Consulate or the appropriate international USCIS office website for information on paying your USCIS fees. If you live within the U.S., you can pay in one of the following ways:

  • By going into a USCIS field office and paying in person
  • Through the mail using a money order, personal check (made out to “U.S. Department of Homeland Security”), cashier’s check, credit card, or debit card
  • Through the USCIS using a bank withdrawal, a credit card, or a debit card

Make sure you submit the most current version of the USCIS forms and submit the required fees.

FileRight Can Help You Apply for DACA Every Two Years

DACA allows you to live and work in the U.S. as an undocumented individual while avoiding immigration issues for two years. However, the program currently has no pathway for DACA recipients to apply for citizenship. 

To continue deferring immigration proceedings against you every two years, you must ensure you’re prepared to renew DACA on time with accurate information. Renewal time can be stressful, but you can simplify the process with the proper assistance. 

To get started on your DACA renewal, fill out your forms I-821D and I-765 with FileRight.com today!

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