The first wave of DREAMers approved for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) will be eligible to renew their status in the next few months. The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) recently released guidelines on how to renew.
Here’s what you need to know.
Am I Eligible to Renew?
To be eligible to renew your deferred action status, you must meet several requirements. The requirements are the same as when you applied for DACA. However, some of them have new components. The requirements are:
- The age requirement
- NEW! The residence requirement
- NEW! The education requirement
- The criminal guideline
What Is the Age Requirement?
What Is the Residence Requirement?
- NEW! You must not have left the U.S. since you were given DACA status without first getting an advance parole document. (See below for more details.)
- You must have come to the U.S. before your 16th birthday and established residence at that time.
- NEW! You must have continuously lived in the U.S. from June 15, 2007, until now.
- NEW! You must have been in the U.S. on June 15, 2012, when you made your first request for DACA and when you ask for your status to be renewed.
- You must have entered the U.S. without inspection before June 15, 2012, or your lawful immigration status had expired as of June 15, 2012.
What Is Advance Parole?
Advance parole is a USCIS document that allows you to reenter the U.S. after traveling abroad. If you have DACA, you must get an advance parole document before you leave the U.S. or you will risk losing your status.
What Is the Education Guideline?
To be eligible for renewal, one of these things must be true:
- You successfully completed an education, literacy or career training program (including vocational training) and got a job.
- You are currently enrolled in high school, college or an education, literacy or career training program.
- You have made substantial, measurable progress toward completing an education, literacy or career training program (such as graduating to the next grade level or completing several semesters).
If you received DACA because you are a veteran honorably discharged from the U.S. military, have graduated from or obtained a certificate of completion from high school, or have a GED, you do not need to meet the above requirement. However, the USCIS may release additional guidelines as it gets closer to the time most DACA recipients can renew.
What Is the Criminal Guideline?
The criminal guideline is the same as when you originally applied for DACA status. You must not have been convicted of a felony, significant misdemeanor or three or more smaller misdemeanors since you received DACA status. And the U.S. government can’t think that you are a threat to other people or to national security.
To learn more about the guidelines for this requirement, view this USCIS page.
When Can I Renew?
You can renew about four months (120 days) before your status expires. The USCIS warns that you should send your application as soon as possible within this window. If your current status expires before you receive a renewal, you will be unlawfully present in the U.S. and won’t be allowed to work.
How Do I Know When My Status Expires?
- There is a validity date on your Form I-797, Approval Notice, under “Notice Type.” The second date is the date when your status expires.
- The expiration date on your Employment Authorization Document (EAD, or work permit). This will be to the right of “Card Expires” and underneath your birth date.
What Forms Do I Use to Renew?
- Form I-821D, Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals
- Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization
- Form I-765WS, Worksheet
The USCIS might be updating Form I-821D soon, so be sure to apply with the latest version.
Will I Have to Pay an Application Fee?
Yes. The total fee for Forms I-821D, I-765 and I-765WS is $465 USD. This fee includes a $380 USD fee for Form I-765 and an $85 USD fee to have your biometrics (fingerprints, photograph and signature) taken.
What Documents Do I Need to Send?
- Evidence that you meet the age requirement (such as a copy of your birth certificate, school records or driver’s license)
- Evidence that you meet the education/military requirement (copies of your report cards, school transcripts, diplomas or military personnel records)
- Evidence that you meet the residence requirement (copies of your rent or mortgage payments, travel documents, tax returns or your passport pages)
You will also probably have to send documents proving:
- Who you are (such as a copy of your driver’s license, birth certificate or passport)
- Your immigration status (copies of your Form I-94/I-95/I-94W with an authorized stay expiration date or a final order of exclusion, deportation or removal given to you as of June 15, 2012)
For a full list of documents that the USCIS accepted for original DACA applications, click here.
What Happens If I Don’t Apply for Renewal?
The USCIS has only said that if your current status expires before you receive a renewal, you will be unlawfully present in the U.S. and won’t be allowed to work. However, there might be additional consequences for people who choose not to renew.