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Frequently Asked Questions about DACA


Now that DACA is officially back, we have compiled some FAQs to help those who are completing the process for the first time, as well as those who need to renew their application soon. In addition to our tips and instructions, USCIS has recently updated the following webpages which can be used as a guide when preparing your initial or renewal filing:


Who can file a renewal application?

You may file a renewal DACA application as long as you met all of the initial DACA requirements (when you filed and were approved the first time), your DACA did not expire more than one year ago, and the following is true:

  • You have not departed the US since August 15, 2012 without advance parole;
  • You have continuously resided in the US since you submitted your most recent DACA request that was approved; and
  • You have not been convicted of a felony, a significant misdemeanor, or three or more misdemeanors, and do not otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety. 

Who can file DACA for the first time?

You can file an initial DACA application if you are able to answer “Yes” to the following questions:

  • Were you under 31 years of age as of June 15, 2012?
  • Did you come to the United States before reaching your 16th birthday?
  • Have you continuously resided in the United States since June 15, 2007, up to the present time?
  • Were you present in the United States on June 15, 2012 and at the time of making your request for consideration of deferred action with USCIS?
  • Did you have no lawful status in the US on June 15, 2012? (No lawful status on June 15, 2012 means that: A. You never had a lawful immigration status on or before June 15, 2012; or B. Any lawful immigration status or parole that you obtained prior to June 15, 2012 had expired as of June 15, 2012.)
  • Are you currently in school, have graduated or obtained a certificate of completion from high school, have obtained a general educational development (GED) certificate, or are an honorably discharged veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces or U.S. Coast Guard?
  • Have you not been convicted of a felony, a significant misdemeanor?

What do I need to submit to USCIS?

The following items should be included when filing to renew your DACA status:

Note that failure to use the correct version of the forms and failure to properly sign and date each form will result in USCIS denying your application and mailing it back to you. 

If you are filing for the first time, you will need to submit the following:

  • Form I-821D, Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals;
  • Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization;
  • Form I-765 Worksheet
  • Required filing fee of $495;
  • 2 passport-style photos;
  • Proof of identity;
  • Proof you came to the U.S. before your 16th birthday;
  • If you have been in deportation proceedings or entered with a visa, proof of expired immigration status;
  • Proof you continuously resided in US from before June of 2007 to your filing date and that you were present in the US on June 15, 2012;
  • Proof of your student status at the time of requesting consideration of DACA;
  • U.S. high school diploma or certificate of completion;
  • U.S. GED certificate;
  • If you have served in the U.S. military, copies of military records;
  • Copies of police reports and court records for any arrests, criminal convictions or juvenile cases (if applicable). 

When should I renew my work permit?

If you wait too long to file to renew your DACA application, you risk losing work authorization. In order to stay in status and maintain employment authorization, you should file your renewal request between 150 and 120 days before the expiration date on your current Employment Authorization Document. 

If you are renewing your application and realize that you are late (i.e. your current DACA status has already expired, you may still submit a renewal application for up to one year, but keep in mind that you there may be a lapse in your lawful ability to work. If your DACA status expired more than a year ago, you must file a new (initial) application. 

How long do DACA applications take to process?

According to the USCIS website, properly filed DACA renewals should be processed within 120 days from the date they are received. This timeline varies and applications can take more or less time depending on how backed up the processing centers are. Note that some applications may receive an RFE (Request for Evidence) after filing, which can delay the processing time. RFEs should be responded to as quickly as possible to avoid delays.

How can I check on my DACA status?

You can check the status of your DACA application using the USCIS processing time tool. If your application is outside of normal processing time (listed on the chart), you can use the USCIS e-request tools or call the USCIS contact center at 1-800-375-5283 to follow up on your case.

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