The DACA program in the United States offers work permits and deportation protection to those who were brought into the U.S. illegally but unknowingly. More specifically, the DACA program is designed for children whose families brought them into the U.S. illegally and now wish to stay legally in the country.
A person’s DACA status will have an expiration date, and when that date comes, it’s imperative that you renew your application as soon as possible. This will ensure a break in your work permit and ensure that you will be legally residing in the country.
The renewal process can seem intimidating, but with the help of modernized immigration solutions, the process can be completed easily. Read on for more information about what to expect during a DACA renewal.
Eligibility Requirements for DACA Renewal
As of recently, new DACA eligibility requirements have been incorporated into the final decision of each individual’s DACA renewal. These new criteria that you must meet include:
- Coming to the U.S. while under the age of 16
- Have continuously resided in the U.S. from 2007 to the present day
- Entered the U.S. without inspection
- Are currently in school, have completed school, or are going to be a member of the armed forces
- Have not been convicted of any illegal activities and have a clean record
- Does not pose a threat to the U.S. security
- Be under the age of 31 in the year of 2012
In order to be eligible for DACA renewal, you will need to provide extensive documentation that shows you pass the above criteria.
When Should I Renew My DACA?
It’s recommended that you should begin your DACA renewal process five months before your expiration date. However, as of recently, there are large backlogs that USCIS is dealing with when it comes to immigration paperwork. So, it may be best to apply well before the five-month mark.
Can I Renew My DACA if It Is Already Expired?
Luckily, if your DACA expired less than a year ago from the time you wish to renew it, you are still able to submit a renewal application request. This way, you are able to renew your DACA with the same information as your expired card.
If your DACA is over a year of its expiration date, you will need to start a new application. This means you will be starting from scratch and applying for a DACA card. You will need to go through the entire application process and await a new DACA card if your application gets approved and you meet all the updated requirements.
How to Renew Your DACA
When it comes to renewing your DACA, it’s a very straightforward process. There are a few steps you should follow which we will outline below.
- Find your previous DACA renewal application: Finding this application will help you greatly when it comes to filling out your new application. By using your previous application, you are able to ensure that all the information you are filling out is accurate and the same as on your previous application.
- Gather your supporting documents: The documents that you will need to include with your application are passport photos, copies of your employment authorization document, your DACA renewal forms (Forms I-765, I-765 WD, and I-821D), and a money order form. It’s also recommended that you include sufficient evidence of your legal stay as a DACA recipient and why you wish to renew.
- Write a cover letter: This cover letter is very important to your application. This letter should touch on why you wish to renew your DACA application and why you wish to stay in the U.S. under this status.
- Collect the filing fee: The filing fee you will need to pay totals around $410. This payment can be made with a money order, credit card, or cashier’s check. The money will need to be made out to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
- Mail your packet to USCIS: If you are wondering where to send your DACA renewal, the answer is simple. Once you have completed all the above steps, you must compile your packet and send it to USCIS.
- Attend a biometric screening: If you are asked to schedule an appointment for biometrics, it’s imperative that you attend and pay the necessary fee. The fee for this appointment is an extra $85. You will be contacted by USCIS six to eight weeks after they receive your paperwork if you need to attend an appointment.
- Track your application: After completing everything, you can track your application online through the online portal. If approved, you will receive your card six to 12 months after it’s been approved.
It’s important that you know you can submit mail in your DACA renewal application or submit everything online. You can renew your DACA application online through USCIS’s portal.
What Is the DACA Renewal Timeline?
The general DACA renewal timeline is anywhere from six to 12 months. It will solely depend on the USCIS office’s backlog where you have submitted your application. However, USCIS makes sure to keep you in the loop of your application.
You will receive a receipt notice two to three weeks after you file your initial application. You will then receive a receipt number that is three letters and 10 numbers, allowing you to track the status of your application.
As stated above, four to six weeks from the date on which you submitted your application, you will receive word about a biometrics appointment. If you need to, schedule an appointment using the letter you have received from USCIS.
If everything goes smoothly and you don’t need to submit further evidence, you will receive an approval letter around five to 10 months from the date you apply for your DACA. You will get a card in the mail, which will be your renewed DACA card.
What Happens if My DACA Expires Before My Renewal Application Is Processed?
For instance, let’s say your DACA status expires before your renewal is approved; what happens then? In a case such as this, you will not be authorized to legally work in the United States until you receive your renewed card, and you could accrue unlawful residence status.
This is why applying for a DACA renewal well before your expiration date is important and recommended. This way, you won’t be legally residing and working in the United States.
How Much Does It Cost to Renew DACA?
The total cost of your renewal for DACA will cost around $495. However, the fees are split between $410 for your employment authorization document that must be sent in, and an $85 biometrics appointment fee. If you don’t include these fees in your renewal packet, your application will be sent back without processing.
What to Do After Applying for Renewal of DACA
Because the application process can take a few weeks to complete and another few months to hear a decision, you can track your application’s progress online. You can do so with the notice receipt number you receive two to three weeks after your application is received.
There is nothing else you can do after submitting your application apart from tracking your status online and waiting for your renewed application.
Begin Your DACA Renewal Today!
If it’s the time that your DACA needs to be renewed, you must get going on your application as soon as possible. Yes, the renewal process can be intimidating and hard to keep up with, but ImmigrationDirect is always there to help and assist you.
Contact us today if you have any questions about filing or renewing your DACA. We offer you countless services when it comes to immigration paperwork.