DACA Renewal: What You Need to Know

Written by Carmen Cornejo

It was a DREAM come true… almost.

Immigrant youth and allies were jubilant on June 15, 2012, when President Obama announced the executive action creating a deferred action from deportation called DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals). Due to a lack of action from Congress to implement a permanent solution for Dreamers through the passage of the DREAM Act or immigration reform, an executive action was the only way young immigrants could avoid deportation and be given relief from their immigration situation.

Without action, immigrant youth were in constant danger of deportation, their educational opportunities were extremely limited (especially in Arizona), and they could not legally work to improve themselves or their families’ quality of life.

DACA was a real game changer that came after a great fight pressuring the Obama administration to enact what in those days was called “administrative relief.” However, as sweet as this victory was, DACA does not provide a permanent solution or a path to legalization, can be taken back (potentially), and presents the need for constant vigilance and renewal.

It is incredibly important for young immigrants to be aware of the expiration of their two-year DACA and to renew on time.

Here are some important steps for DACA renewal.

1. Keep track of your DACA expiration date. DACA expires two years from the date on the I-797 Notice of Action received when DACA was approved.

2. Save up for your DACA renewal fees. Renewal fees are $465, as is the initial application fee.

3. Prepare all paperwork for your renewal. Gather any new evidence since the DACA approval regarding any problem with the law, such as arrest, charges or criminal proceedings. Advance Parole granted – required to exit the country – must be included.

4. Request DACA at least 120 days (four months) before your expiration date. It is really important to send in your DACA renewal papers more than four months prior to expiration. Otherwise you may be at risk of losing your job, and you can accrue unlawful presence, which may be a problem if a path to legalization presents itself in the future.

5. Obtain a copy of the original DACA request. DACA renewal requests similar information to your first submission. Use your original DACA documents to fill out the renewal.

6. Read all pertinent information on the USCIS site.

7. Fill out the forms. These are the forms needed for DACA renewal:

  • Form I-821D: Use the most recent version of Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.
  • Form I-765: Application for Employment Authorization
  • Form I-765W: Worksheet

8. If you have questions or concerns, seek legal advice. A good lawyer or BIA-certified representative can help you with trusted advice for the specifics of the case. By all means, avoid “notarios.”

Good luck!