For most people, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) is a dream come true. You’ve worked hard to get where you are today, and you deserve to be treated as such. You are eligible for employment authorization like all hard-working Americans.
If you want to keep your status, you need to renew it every two years. And while there are many ways to do so, we will show you how to complete your DACA renewal hassle-free in 10 simple steps.
1. Know the Deadline by Heart
The first thing you should know about DACA renewal is that it must occur between 4 months (120 days) to 5 months (150 days) before your expiration date. You must keep track of your DACA expiration date, usually indicated on your I-797, Notice of Action form. You can also find the expiration date on your work authorization card.
Please note that if you submit your application after the renewal window period, you could lose your job and other benefits. So, you don’t want to wait until the last minute, considering that presently, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is dealing with a backlog of unprocessed renewals.
2. Find Your Most Recent DACA Renewal Paperwork
Your most recent DACA renewal paperwork will be an excellent starting point and reference when filling out your new application. The old application has everything you need to complete your new DACA renewal application quickly and error-free. So, you can cross-check both applications to ensure that the information provided is consistent.
3. Get All the Application Forms Needed from the USCIS Website
There are three forms needed for DACA renewal:
- Form I-821D; Application for Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals
- Form I-765; Application for Employment Authorization
- Form I-765WS; Application for Work Authorization and Official DACA Application[SC1]
Please note that USCIS usually rejects applications made on outdated forms. So to ensure that you use the most recent or updated DACA renewal application paperwork, be sure to visit the USCIS website to access the forms’ current versions.
4. Fill Out the Forms
Once you’ve gathered all the necessary forms, you’re ready to fill them out. Remember that each form requires different types of documents. Some require additional supporting documentation, depending on their specific requirements.
For example, Form I-765 requires proof of identity and proof of eligibility to work in the United. States. If you are renewing, this is your previous DACA card. If this is your initial DACA application, there is a more extensive list of documents you will need. [SC2] [SC3] If you’re applying for employment authorization, you’ll need to submit proof of income. This can include pay stubs, W-2 tax forms, or other relevant documents.[SC4]
We strongly recommend using your previous DACA application as a reference point when filling out your new application to avoid any mistakes. However, if you don’t have your previous application, you can refer to USCIS’ Form I-821D Instructions for guidance.
5. Create a Cover Letter
Do you want to capture the attention of the USCIS agent reviewing your application more effortlessly? Then consider creating a captivating cover letter and attaching it to your application. It’s important to include details such as your name, address, phone number, email address, and the reason(s) why you’re seeking deferred action.
6. Prepare Your Filing Fees
You will need to pay $495 for your DACA renewal. And since USCIS does not accept cash, we recommend paying via credit card, money order, or cashier’s check. If you opt for a money order or cashier’s check, pay exactly $495 to the “U.S. Department of Homeland Security.” DO NOT use an abbreviation like DHS, as USCIS will not accept your payment and will return your application. On the flip side, if you choose to pay with a credit card, you must fill out Form G-1450 and attach it to your application paperwork.
7. Assemble Everything and Make Copies
Now that you’ve completed all the required forms, it’s time to assemble everything into one package. Be sure to make copies of all your original documents to keep track of which ones go where. [SC5]
For a quick reference, you want to assemble and make copies of the following paperwork:
- Form G-1145
- Form I-821D
- Form I-765
- Form I-765WS
- Cover letter
- Passport photos
- A copy of the front and back of your current employment authorization document
- Copies of any supporting evidence
N/B: DO NOT staple these documents into a package, as it makes it challenging for the USCIS agent to review them. You want to use paper clips instead.
8. Mail Your Application to USCIS
Having double[SC6] -checked and gathered every piece of documentation, it is time to send your application. [SC7] Once your application has been received, the USCIS will send you a receipt, which you should keep. This way, you can easily follow up with the USCIS agent who processed your application.
Please note that USCIS receives applications in different facilities based on your location. So you want to use this reference guide to find a USCIS office near you.
9. Attend a Biometrics Appointment
After submitting your DACA renewal request, you’ll receive an appointment notice requiring you to visit an Application Support Center (ASC) for a biometrics session. You can expect to receive the notice 6-8 weeks after submitting your renewal application. If you have already submitted to this appointment for a previous DACA application, the USCIS may be able to recapture your fingerprints from that previous appointment. If this is the case, you will receive a notice that your fingerprints were recaptured, and no additional appointment is necessary. If you’re wondering, the primary purpose of this exercise is to check that you have no criminal record and have not violated any relevant immigration laws.[SC8]
10. Receive Your New DACA and Work Authorization Card
The wait is finally over! After submitting your application, USCIS has decided whether or not they will renew your DACA status. They will notify you by mail within 6-12 months of receiving your application. After receiving your DACA renewal approval notice, you will receive a work authorization card valid for two (2) years.
Clearwater Law Group can Make the DACA Renewal Process Easier for You!
Are you looking to bypass all the hassles and headaches of the DACA renewal process? Then our highly experienced immigration attorneys at Clearwater Law Group can help. We specialize in helping people obtain their U.S. citizenship and green cards through naturalization. Our attorneys are well-versed in the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) requirements, including how to apply for a new visa or extension of stay. We can assist you with the entire process from start to finish.