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How to renew DACA

Are you an undocumented youth who came to the United States as a child? Did you know that you cannot be deported? This has been announced by the “U.S. Department of Homeland Security ” in 2012 and has allowed temporary permission for you to stay in the U.S. This is called Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA for short.

Due to litigation, USCIS is no longer authorized to process new DACA applications, only renewals for the time being.  That means that DACA recipients remain protected and can continue to renew their protected status.

What is the renewal process for DACA?

USCIS may continue processing DACA renewal requests even if your current DACA and Employment Authorization Document (EAD) have expired. EAD is a work permit card issued to you when you have received DACA.

You may risk losing your job and other benefits if you submit your request after the due date. Do not wait until the last minute.

Step #1 – Find your most recent renewal paperwork. 

Use it as a guide to complete your new DACA renewal forms. If this is your first time renewing your status, you can also use your paperwork from your first DACA application.

Step #2 – Get the forms you’ll need. These are:

  • Form I-821D
  • Form I-765
  • Form I-765WS

Step #3 – Fill out the forms. 

It’s best to use a computer, phone, or tablet so that your answers are easy to read. If you fill the forms out by hand, make sure that you write legibly with a black pen.

Step #4 – Write a cover letter. 

A cover letter tells USCIS who you are, what you are applying for, and what items you have included in your application packet. This helps the USCIS officer easily see what they are about to review and avoid overlooking anything.

Step #5 – Get your passport photo taken. 

You will need to include two passport photos taken within 30 days of the day you file your Form I-765.

Step #6 – Pay the filing fees. 

USCIS does not accept cash, so you will need to pay the $495 filing fee with a check, money order or by credit card. The money order or check should be for exactly $495 and made out to “U.S. Department of Homeland Security”.

Do not use abbreviations like “DHS.” If you choose to pay by credit card, you will need to include a completed Form G-1450 with your application paperwork.

It is highly recommended for you to pay by check or credit card, because then, you will know when you have been charged.  If USCIS loses your money order, you lose $495.  However, if they lose a form or check, you can simply re-issue them without losing $495.

Step #7 – Make a copy of everything. 

This includes your money order or credit card authorization form and all supporting documents, as well as any receipt for mailing your paperwork. Keep these copies in a safe place in case you need to refer to them in the future.

Step #8 – Assemble your renewal packet. 

Arrange your packet in this order to make it easier for USCIS to review:

  1. Money Order, Check, or Form G-1450;
  2. Cover Letter’
  3. Form G-1145 (if you choose to submit it);
  4. Form I-821D;
  5. Form I-765;
  6. Passport photos;
  7. A copy of the front and back of your current Employment Authorization Document;
  8. Form I-765WS; and
  9. Copies of any supporting documents.

A tip for you! Do not use staples! Staples make it harder for USCIS to review everything. Use paper clips instead.

Step #9 – Mail your renewal packet to USCIS. 

Check and double-check everything before mailing your application. It’s best to use a mail service that includes a tracking number. The USPS’ Priority Mail flat-rate envelopes are a great option. We personally use FedEx for most mailings.

Step 10 – Attend your biometrics appointment. 

USCIS will usually schedule your biometrics appointment 6-8 weeks after you submit your paperwork.

Step 11 – Receive your new DACA and Employment Authorization Card. 

You should receive your DACA approval notice and work authorization card 6 to 12 months after you send in your completed renewal packet!

Get Help from an Immigration Attorney

‍DACA renewal can be complicated, but working with the best immigration attorney can make this easier.

If you have been arrested since your last approved DACA, it is best to consult with an experienced lawyer before proceeding with your application.

And if you cannot afford the fees, don’t be afraid to ask your employer, friends, family members, or colleagues. About 86 percent of American people support giving dreamers a pathway to legal status. Don’t delay the filing of your DACA renewal.

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