These tips are specifically about applying to renew DACA
A DACA FAQ answers questions mainly about applying for DACA for the first time.
Four Top Tips for When You Renew Your DACA
If you currently have Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), the date by which you will need to apply to renew it and your employment authorization document (EAD, or work permit) is quickly approaching. Since the consequences of losing your DACA and employment authorization for even a little while can be serious, you should keep these tips in mind when preparing to renew your DACA.
1. Ideally, you should submit your completed renewal application about 150 days, but no later than 120 days, before your current DACA and EAD expire.
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) suggests that you submit your completed renewal application about 150 days (5 months), but no later than 120 days (4 months), before your current DACA and employment authorization document (EAD) expire. But USCIS will accept your renewal application even if you submit it earlier than 150 days before your current DACA and EAD expire. However, if you file early, the date on which your DACA and EAD renewal become effective may be earlier than the expiration date on your current EAD. If this happens, your two-year renewal period will expire sooner than it would if you submitted your application 150 to 120 days before your EAD’s expiration date.
USCIS expects that if you submit your renewal application at least 120 days before your DACA and EAD expiration date, it will be able to make a decision on your application before your DACA expires.
Therefore, it is very important that, if possible, you submit your renewal application about 150 days, but no later than 120 days, before your DACA and EAD expire. We recommend applying 140 to 150 days before your DACA and EAD expire, in order to provide USCIS as much time as possible to review your application.
A calculator on our website — at www.nilc.org/dacarenewalcalculator/ — can help you figure out the best time to submit your DACA renewal application to USCIS.
2. Submitting your renewal application 140 to 150 days before your DACA expires may help you avoid losing your job and accruing time in unlawful status.
Under federal law, your employer is required to reverify your work authorization by the date on which your current EAD expires. To do this, your employer will likely ask you for proof that your EAD has been renewed and will ask you to fill out section 3 of the I-9 employment eligibility verification form to show that you presented an EAD with a new expiration date. If on the date that your current EAD expires you cannot prove that your EAD has been renewed, your employer may fire you.
Therefore, if your DACA or EAD expire before your renewal has been granted, you may lose your job, since you will no longer be authorized to work once your EAD expires. If your DACA expires, you will also no longer be lawfully present in the U.S. and will begin accruing unlawful presence if you were over age 18 when you applied for renewal.
If your current DACA and EAD expire before your DACA renewal is granted, and your employer starts asking you for proof that your employment authorization has been extended, you may want to ask your employer to terminate your employment temporarily while you wait for your new EAD. Your employer could then give you your job back when you receive your new EAD. But your employer is not required to do this.
Sometimes USCIS’s “Case Status Online” tool will show that a DACA renewal applicant’s application has been approved before the applicant receives his or her approval notice or new EAD in the mail. If the online case status tool says that your application has been approved and your employer is asking you for proof that your employment authorization has been extended, you could offer to show your employer that you are work-authorized by completing an online case status inquiry for your case in the employer’s presence. This may persuade your employer to keep you on the job until your new EAD arrives in the mail.
3. Make sure to use the latest version of the DACA application form. Only submit additional evidence if you are in removal proceedings or if you have had contact with law enforcement since you first received DACA.
The initial and renewal DACA application must include the following: Form I-821D, Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals; Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization; and Form I-765WS, Worksheet. If you do not use the latest version of Form I ‘821D, USCIS will reject your application. (The latest version of the DACA application form has “Form I ‘821D 06/04/14 N” printed in the bottom left-hand corner of each page.)
To apply to renew DACA, you must fill out all sections of Form I-821D that are marked “For Initial and Renewal Requests.” You do not need to submit any evidence in addition to what you submitted when you applied for DACA the first time, unless you are in removal proceedings or have had any contact with law enforcement since you received DACA. If either of these conditions applies to you, you should also include any documents related to your removal proceedings or your criminal history that you have not already submitted. You do not need to include evidence about your education or your job as part of your renewal application.
USCIS could ask you for additional information or evidence to verify information on your renewal application. Therefore, it’s a good idea to gather and keep any documents that show that you meet all the requirements for DACA.
4. If your DACA renewal is delayed, monitor your case status online and consider asking the USCIS Ombudsman for help.
You can monitor the status of your renewal application by using USCIS’s “Case Status Online” tool, at https://egov.uscis.gov/casestatus/landing.do. You will need to enter either the DACA or EAD application receipt number you received after you submitted your renewal application.
You can also file a request for help with the USCIS Ombudsman by going to https://cisomb.dhs.gov/oca/form7001.aspx. If you submitted your renewal application at least 120 days before your expiration date and USCIS has not made a decision within 10 days of your expiration date, you can contact NILC for help at [email protected]. To read more about other what to do if your DACA renewal application is delayed, see our Steps to Take if Your DACA Renewal Is Delayed.
FOR MORE INFORMATION on the DACA renewal process, read our FAQ at www.nilc.org/dacarenewalprocess/. USCIS also provides information about renewing DACA, at www.uscis.gov/humanitarian/consideration-deferred-action-childhood-arrivals-process/renew-your-daca.
IF YOU HAVE QUESTIONS about the DACA renewal process, you can contact Ignacia Rodriguez, NILC executive action legal fellow, at [email protected] or 213-481-6051.