If you receive Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) status and your current period is approaching expiration, it will help to understand how the renewal process works. Renewing your DACA status allows you to continue enjoying the benefits and protections provided under the program.
When to file
You must submit your renewal request 120 and 150 days before expiration on your current Form I-797 DACA approval notice and Employment Authorization Document (EAD). Filing within this window minimizes the risk of your DACA expiring before deciding on your renewal.
You can file it online
Submitting your DACA renewal request online is convenient and secure. First, create a USCIS online account. You can then complete the forms and pay the fees. It will also help you to conveniently track your immigration request status online. Creating an account is free. It also offers secure communication with USCIS and online responses to Requests for Evidence. Remember, online submissions must include Form I-821D, Form I-765, Form I-765WS and the accompanying fees.
How long will it take to process requests?
USCIS aims to process DACA renewal requests within 120 days. However, please be aware that certain factors may affect the processing time. These factors may include:
- Missed biometrics appointments
- Security issues
- travel discrepancies
- Incomplete submissions
If 105 days or more have passed and your request is still pending, you can submit an inquiry online to inquire about its status.
To be eligible for DACA renewal, you must have met the initial DACA guidelines and:
- Not engaged in unauthorized travel outside the United States after August 15, 2012
- Resided in the United States since your last approved DACA request continuously
- Not been convicted of a felony, a specified misdemeanor or misdemeanors (more than three) and do not show any threat to public safety or national security
The USCIS assesses these criteria on a case-by-case basis. They retain the discretion to evaluate individual circumstances before granting deferred action.
Unlawful presence and work authorization
If your previous DACA period expires before renewal, you will accrue unlawful presence during the gap. Similarly, you will not be authorized to work until you receive a new Employment Authorization Document (EAD) from USCIS. An exception to this is if you filed for renewal while you were under 18.
Renewing your DACA status is crucial to maintaining your legal status and the benefits it affords. Remember to stay informed about updates or changes to DACA policies to ensure compliance and peace of mind.