On June 15, 2012, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced that it would not deport certain undocumented youth who came to the United States as children. Under a directive from the DHS secretary, these youth may be granted a type of temporary permission to stay in the U.S. called “deferred action.” The Obama administration called this program Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA. This page provides guidance on how to apply for DACA, renew DACA, and other important information on DACA. The current DACA landscape is complicated and involves litigation in multiple courts, agency rulemaking, and the ongoing call for and efforts to pass legislation with the goal of a permanent solution. See the below tabs for the latest updates, general information on DACA, information about the litigation around the DACA program, and information about ongoing legislative and administrative advocacy.
What is the current state of the DACA program?
Last updated September 13, 2023
On October 5, 2022, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals issued a decision on the legality of the 2012 DACA policy. For now, the Fifth Circuit kept the district court’s stay in place, which means that current DACA recipients can continue to benefit from DACA and renew their grants of DACA and work authorization while the case continues, but first-time applications are still not being processed. As anticipated, the Fifth Circuit agreed with the district court that DACA is unlawful on both procedural and substantive grounds—in other words, the 2012 DACA memo was unlawfully published without required notice-and-comment procedures, and the 2012 DACA memo violates the Immigration and Nationality Act. The Fifth Circuit also found that the State of Texas has “standing,” or the ability to bring its lawsuit against DACA, because it found that emergency Medicaid costs and public education costs for DACA recipients to be “injuries” suffered by the state. The Fifth Circuit remanded the 2022 DACA Rule to the district court to consider it in the first instance. The next step is for the Texas district court to consider the legality of the DACA Rule and issue its decision. On December 19, 2022, the Texas district court granted the parties’ proposed schedule for submitting written briefs to the court. The parties’ briefing will be completed on April 6, 2023, and the Texas district court will likely schedule a hearing thereafter.
On October 14, 2022, the Texas district court had a hearing. At the hearing, the Federal Government clarified that it understands the district court’s injunction – which prohibits the consideration of first time DACA applications – to apply to the DACA Rule, and that it will continue not to process requests for DACA from first-time applicants, including those whose DACA has lapsed for more than a year. During the hearing, the court also discussed the next steps for it to consider the legality of the DACA Rule. The Federal Government stated that it would work to compile and submit the needed documents for the next stage of the case (the “administrative record”) and anticipated those being ready in 3 to 4 weeks. The court asked the parties to propose a timeline for briefing the remaining legal questions after they have seen the documents the Federal Government gathers. The court also issued an order restating that the Federal Government continues to be prohibited “from granting DACA status for any new applicants.”
On October 31, 2022, the DACA Rule rescinded and replaced the 2012 DACA memo. All current grants of DACA and advance parole issued under the 2012 DACA memo remain valid. Applications to renew DACA are now governed by the DACA Rule. Advance parole remains available for DACA holders. The DACA Rule’s fee structure is now in place: The DACA application form I-821D now has a $495 filing fee, which includes biometrics and Employment Authorization Document (“EAD”) services. In addition, the DACA Rule clarifies that expunged convictions, juvenile delinquency adjudications, and convictions under state laws for immigration-related offenses are not considered disqualifying convictions when applying for DACA.
What this means for those eligible for DACA: Presently, those who currently have DACA or had it within the last year can file for renewals of their DACA and work permits. The federal government is currently accepting, but not granting or even processing, applications from first-time applicants and anyone whose DACA expired more than one year ago. Further, the government has chosen, without explanation, to treat renewal applications from DACA recipients whose previous DACA grant expired more than one year ago as first-time DACA applications, which it cannot decide on under the Texas court’s decision that has now been affirmed by the Fifth Circuit. Advance parole eligibility remains the same for current DACA holders. It is critical that Congress take steps to provide a permanent legislative solution now.
On August 30, 2022, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issued a final rule that, with limited changes, continues the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy that was announced in 2012. The rule generally adopted the 2012 DACA, including the current threshold criteria for qualifying for DACA, as well as the existing process for DACA applicants to request work authorization when applying for DACA.
Though the Rule was set to take effect on October 31, 2022, the Federal Government has indicated that it understands the Texas district court’s injunction to extend to the Rule. Accordingly, USCIS will continue processing DACA renewal applications, but will not grant any initial applications for DACA.
You can find further analysis of the rule here.
What happened in the Batalla Vidal case in New York?
Currently, counsel in the Batalla Vidal case is analyzing potential next steps. The most recent court action in Batalla Vidal took place on August 3, 2022. With Congress having failed to act and a proposed new DACA regulation still unfinalized, the Batalla Vidal plaintiffs (a nationwide class of all those who hold DACA or are DACA eligible) asked the New York court for relief for the approximately 100,000 individuals whose applications for first-time DACA, or renewal where their previous DACA expired more than one year ago, are stalled. Those individuals applied for DACA after the court ordered the government to re-open DACA for first-time applicants in December 2020, but whose applications were pending when a Texas federal court ordered the government to stop granting initial DACA applications in July 2021. We explained to the New York court that there is a space between the New York order and the Texas order that would allow the New York court to provide meaningful relief to the 100,000 first-time DACA applicants and lapsed renewal applicants who applied during that period and whose applications are still in limbo.
Unfortunately, on August 3, 2022, the New York court issued its decision, denying plaintiffs’ motion in its entirety. The court is not extending any relief to people with pending first-time DACA applications or whose DACA has lapsed for over a year.
The August 3, 2022 decision of the New York court is available here.
What does the New York court’s August 3, 2022 order mean?
The ruling is a disappointment for the nearly 100,000 class members whose applications are stuck in limbo. This ruling shows the Biden administration refuses to do things they could have done, such as allowing people whose DACA expired more than one year ago to renew or process further the applications of first-time applicants whose applications are now pending. However, the decision does not change the status quo.
Does the New York court’s August 3, 2022 order change the DACA program?
No. The New York court denied Plaintiffs’ request for limited relief for first-time DACA applicants and renewal applicants whose previous grants of DACA expired more than a year ago. Those who hold DACA can continue to renew their deferred action and work permits. The government is still not granting first-time applications or applications from those whose DACA has lapsed for more than one year.
What does this mean for first-time DACA applicants?
As of now, there are no changes in the DACA program since July of 2021, other than USCIS now accepting DACA renewal applications electronically.
- Q: Should I send my first application if I have my documents ready?
- A: This is an individual decision you should make in conjunction with your lawyer or legal representative. The application request costs $495 and although USCIS will accept the application, keep the money, and issue a receipt notice, the application will not be granted or denied.
- Q: I have already sent in my application. What will happen next?
- A: The application will not be granted. On July 27, 2021, USCIS advised they will be putting these applications “on hold” and will NOT be refunding application fees or rejecting applications. This could change in the future. You can check uscis.gov/daca for updates.
- Q: My first-time DACA application was granted before July 16, 2021. Has anything changed?
- A: No, your DACA and work permit remain valid. You can use your work permit and you are entitled to a Social Security number and could be eligible for other benefits.
What does this mean for current DACA recipients?
While the Texas decision is appealed, the Texas court order allows current DACA holders to continue benefiting from DACA and work permits remain valid. You can use your work permit and you are entitled to a Social Security number and could be eligible for other benefits. The letter filed in New York does not change this.
- Q: Has anything changed with my DACA or work permit?
- A: No, you will continue to be protected against deportation, and you may continue to use your work permit, Social Security number and any other benefits associated with your DACA.
- Q: When should I renew my DACA?
- A: USCIS encourages renewals to be filed between 120 and 150 days prior to the expiration of your DACA. However, USCIS will accept your application before 150 days but will not process it until 150 days before your DACA expires. If your DACA expires in the next few months, we encourage you to renew as soon as possible.
- Q: What if my DACA expired more than one year ago?
- A: USCIS is not granting applications for previous DACA holders whose DACA lapsed for over one year. You may still file an application, but it will not be approved unless the government changes its current practice.
What does this mean for travel on advance parole?
USCIS continues to process and issue advance parole from current DACA holders.
- Q: I have received advance parole. Can I still travel?
- A: Your advance parole is valid and you may travel and re-enter the United States using the document as long as your DACA remains current. However, we always recommend you consult with an attorney or accredited representative about individual risks before traveling.
- Q: I have an advance parole application pending. What will happen next?
- A: If your DACA is current and you meet the advance parole eligibility requirements, USCIS will continue to process and issue a decision on your advance parole application.
- Q: I was planning on applying for advance parole. Should I still apply now?
- A: If your DACA is current and you are eligible for advance parole, you may apply. Your application will be processed. However, you should pay attention to the media and uscis.gov/daca for any further court updates that may impact advance parole for DACA holders.
Could any of this change?
Yes, the current DACA program is subject to change based upon court orders or federal government policy change. Please check this website for updates.
- The back and forth in the courts make it clear that we need Congress to act now. Immigrants across the country are fighting to create a pathway to citizenship for all that is inclusive of DACA beneficiaries and their families.
- Sign up for updates on our class action website: dacaclassaction.org.
ALERT: What is the DACA rule, and how does it impact me?
ALERT: Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Final Rule Summary
ALERT: Trump Administration Scales Back Availability of DACA While Deciding Whether to End It
ALERT: Supreme Court Overturns Trump Administration’s Termination of DACA
ALERT: U.S. District Court in Texas Denies Texas Request to Stop DACA Renewals
What States Can Do to Mitigate the Harm If DACA, TPS, and Other Forms of Immigration Relief End
About DACA and Employment (answers to frequently asked questions — English, Korean, Portuguese, Spanish)
#DefendDACA: Stories in Defense of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals
DACA and Driver’s Licenses/REAL ID
REAL ID and Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals
Access to Driver’s Licenses for Immigrant Youth
DACA Supreme Court Case Summary & Practice Update (NILC & ILRC, updated 12/22/20)
Getting and Renewing DACA
NEW: UWD – Guidance for DACA Recipients and Legal Practitioners FAQ (Engish)
NEW: UWD – Guidance for DACA Recipients and Legal Practitioners FAQ (Spanish)
NEW: Home is Here – FAQ Guidance for DACA Recipients and Legal Practitioners (English)
NEW: Home is Here – FAQ Guidance for DACA Recipients and Legal Practitioners (Spanish)
Guidance for Practitioners Helping Clients with DACA Cases Electronically (UWD, NILC, and AALDEF)
Steps to Take if Your DACA Renewal Is Delayed
DACA Renewal Calculator: Calculate When Would Be the Best Time to Submit Your DACA Renewal Application to USCIS
DACA & Obamacare (ACA) & Taxes
FAQ: DACAmented and Undocumented Immigrants and the Obamacare Tax Penalty
Taxes and DACA: What Do I Need to Know? (webinar)
Resources | COVID-19 Crisis and Consequences
DACA Boosts Recipients’ Well-Being and Economic Contributions: 2022 Survey Results
2021 Survey of DACA Recipients Underscores the Importance of a Pathway to Citizenship (NILC, CAP, UWD, and Tom K. Wong of UCSD, 2/3/22)
New DHS Policy Threatens to Undo Gains Made by DACA Recipients (report by NILC, CAP, UWD, and Tom K. Wong of UCSD, 10/5/20)
Amid Changes to the DACA Program and COVID-19, DACA Recipients Are Fired Up and Civically Engaged (NILC, CAP, UWD, and Tom K. Wong of UCSD, 10/2/20)
What We Know About DACA Renewals (Center for American Progress, 10/15/19)
DACA Recipients’ Livelihoods, Families, and Sense of Security Are at Stake This November (report by NILC, CAP, UWD, and Tom K. Wong of UCSD, 9/19/19)
Amid Legal and Political Uncertainty, DACA Remains More Important Than Ever (report by NILC, CAP, UWD, and Tom K. Wong of UCSD, 8/15/18)
Ending DACA Would Have Wide-Ranging Effects, but Immigrant Youth Are Fired Up and Politically Engaged (report by NILC, CAP, UWD, and Tom K. Wong of UCSD, 8/23/18)
DACA Recipients’ Economic and Educational Gains Continue to Grow (report by NILC, CAP, UWD, and Tom K. Wong of UCSD, 8/28/17)
New Study of DACA Beneficiaries Shows Positive Economic and Educational Outcomes (report by NILC, CAP, UWD, and Tom K. Wong of UCSD, 10/18/16)
Results from a Nationwide Survey of DACA Recipients Illustrate the Program’s Impact (report by NILC, CAP, and Tom K. Wong of UCSD, 7/9/15)
DACA at the Two-Year Mark: A National and State Profile of Youth Eligible and Applying for Deferred Action (Migration Policy Institute, 8/14)
Memo from DHS secretary — Exercising Prosecutorial Discretion with Respect to Individuals Who Came to the United States as Children (June 15, 2012, PDF)
DHS press release announcing a deferred action process for undocumented youth (June 15, 2012, PDF)
Questions and answers about the administration’s announcement regarding relief for individuals who came to the United States as children (June 15, 2012, PDF)
Memo from U.S. Immigration & Customs Enforcement director John Morton (June 15, 2012, PDF)
Learn about what is happening with DACA in the courts.
Litigation Related to Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) (tables)
Summary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s Decision in the DACA Cases
DACA Litigation Timeline
Challenge to Termination of DACA Program
Wolf v. Batalla Vidal, et al. (formerly Batalla Vidal v. Baran, et al.): Amended lawsuit in New York challenging termination of DACA program
Docs Received under Freedom of Information Act
Pushing for Information on the Trump Administration’s Decision to End DACA