As of April 12, 2022, individuals who are renewing their deferred action under Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) may do so online. This will help streamline the renewal process for many applicants and hopefully make it easier for individuals to maintain their deferred action status. Online applications require the applicant to create an online account with USCIS.
Even with online processing, the Department of Homeland Security must still act in accordance with the court order in Texas v. United States (S.D.Tex., July 16, 2021, No. 1:18-CV-00068) and can only accept and process renewal applications for deferred action under DACA. The Department of Homeland Security may still accept initial applications for deferred action under DACA, but is unable to grant or approve any of those initial applications.
Deferred action is an exercise of prosecutorial discretion where the Department of Homeland Security grants to eligible individuals some level of protection from deportation and removal proceedings. As an added benefit to deferred action under DACA, individuals may also apply for work authorization and advance parole. Most applications for DACA will include the application for work authorization.
Applying for a renewal of deferred action under DACA requires the following:
- Form I-821D, Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals;
- Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization;
- Form I-765WS, Form I-765 Worksheet;
- Copy of the front and back of the most recent Employment Authorization Document;
- Two color passport-style photographs; and
- Filing fee (which may be paid online if filing online, by check or money order submitted with the application, or by credit card on Form G-1450, Authorization for Credit Card Transactions).
Filing fee information can be found on the USCIS website.
If the applicant has criminal convictions, arrests, or removal proceedings that were not disclosed in the most recent DACA application, the applicant must disclose those events and provide relevant documentation. In such instances, the applicant should seek out an immigration attorney or expert to assist them with their renewal application.
Generally, the renewal process is straightforward. Once the applicant has carefully filled out and reviewed the required forms, they need only mail the forms to the appropriate filing location for Form I-821D. After mailing, the process follows similarly to most other USCIS filings:
- Within 4-6 weeks of mailing, the applicant will receive a receipt notice, notifying them that their application has been received and is being processed by USCIS. This means that at minimum, all required parts of the submitted forms are complete, all required supporting documentation was submitted, and the filing fee was correct.
- After the receipt notice (although sometimes concurrently), the applicant will receive a biometrics notice to conduct a biometrics fingerprint scan. The biometrics notice will contain the appointment time and location information for the applicant to appear.
- After the applicant completes the biometrics appointment, the applicant will wait for a final adjudication notice of their case (either approval or denial). If an applicant has a straightforward renewal and has had no prior criminal or negative immigration record, the applicant can expect an approval notice within a few months.
However, if the applicant fails to disclose a new criminal record, from an arrest to a conviction, and to include supporting documentation, there will be a delay in their application processing. If the applicant failed to provide adequate supporting documentation of the criminal record that shows they are still eligible for deferred action under DACA, they will receive a Request for Further Evidence in the mail, to which they will then need to reply by mail. The added benefits of online processing allow for the applicant to see this correspondence online.
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