The Ultimate DACA Renewal Checklist
Renewing your DACA might seem like a troublesome task to do by yourself – particularly when you see how lengthy the checklist can get. However, that is only from the first appearance. In reality, most of the time, your DACA can easily be renewed without even having to leave the comfort of your own home.
All you have to do is gather the right documents, and then go through the DACA renewal steps. In this article, you will find a DACA renewal checklist, as well as the steps that you need to take to renew your DACA.
What Is DACA?
DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) was established in 2012 as an executive order. It serves as a kind of administrative relief that prevents the deportation of undocumented immigrants who have arrived in the United States as children. However, the condition is that they meet the eligibility criteria.
Essentially, DACA grants different program recipients. It can either be protected from being deported, or it can be a work permit. It is all depending on the circumstances. The program requires to be renewed, as it expires after two years. However, during this time, the recipient has relatively every right as a U.S. citizen – including the right to get a car loan.
Sadly, because of recent changes to the federal policy, the program is no longer open for new applications – at least not right now. Ever since President Donald Trump gave the order, the DACA program came to an end in March 2018, refusing any new applications. However, it remains possible for current eligible recipients to renew their DACA.
The future of the program is uncertain. President Donald Trump declared that he would extend the DACA protection, provided that the government receives funding for the Border Wall. It is still uncertain whether this would happen or not, which is why the current DACA owners should try to renew theirs as well – before the program dissolves altogether.
Who Can Renew Their DACA Status?
As mentioned, everyone who is a current recipient may renew their paperwork for DACA, provided they meet the initial guidelines from 2012. To put it simply, someone who wishes to renew their DACA must follow and meet the conditions below. You will be eligible for DACA renewal if you:
- Did not leave the U.S. starting with August 15th, 2012, without getting advanced parole beforehand.
- Have resided continuously in the U.S. since the submission and approval of your last DACA request.
- Have not been charged with a felony, significant misdemeanor, or multiple smaller misdemeanors.
Simply put, as long as you can prove that you have only been living in the United States and that you do not pose any threats to public safety or national security, you may request for DACA renewal.
When to Renew Your DACA Status
As mentioned, DACA is a temporary program – which means that it will have to be renewed. The document itself expires after two years, but you will have to renew the application before its due date. Since the approval can be rather lengthy, you may want to apply as early as you can.
Ideally, one year before your current DACA expires is a great moment to renew your document. The goal of USCIS (U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services) is to process the data within 120 days – but you may never know what can happen. It is recommended that if you do not receive a response within 105 days, you should try contacting them for an update.
If your DACA is set to expire in 151 days or more, you may want to apply for a new grant as soon as possible. Furthermore, considering the uncertainty for the program in the future, you might want to consider renewing even if you have more than one year before it expires.
You may file for renewal even if your last one was terminated or has expired. For example, if you previously had a DACA car loan, you may bring the documentation as proof. The only ones who are not eligible for a new DACA are the ones that have never had a DACA before.
DACA Renewal Checklist
To make things simple to follow for those wishing to renew their DACA, here is a checklist that you might want to keep in mind:
- Form I-821D from USCIS
- Form I-765WS from USCIS
- Form I-765 from USCIS
- Form G-1145 from USCIS (optional)
- Completed forms, after which you date and sign them in black ink
- DACA renewal cover letter
- Your work permit photocopied on both sides, or any other supportive evidence for your DACA approval
- Two passport-sized photos
- A $495 ready fee for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security money order
- A copy of your whole DACA renewal packet
- A packet addressed to the right USCIS location
- A fast delivery service contact
There is no actual deadline for you to submit an application. However, considering the uncertainty of the program, you may want to renew it as early as possible. This applies particularly if you are a student and are in need of a DACA student loan fast.
How to Renew DACA
Renewing your DACA might seem like something overwhelming, especially considering all the deadlines and uncertainties looming over the subject. However, as long as you meet the requirements for DACA renewal, you can simply get things done from the comfort of your own home. Here are the steps that you will have to follow.
Locate Your Previous DACA Renewal Application
In order to renew your DACA, you will need to bring proof that you previously had a DACA in the first place. Only people that have been granted a DACA before should be able to renew their documents.
Not only that but locating your former documents will help you get a head start on the new DACA process. Since you will have the previous renewal application in front of you, you will know precisely what should go in the new one. You will be able to remain consistent while making sure that you have not missed anything.
The original documents will be sent to USCIS in order to grant your application. This is why, when everything is gathered, you may want to make a copy of the entire new renewal application. This way, the next time you apply, you will have something to guide you.
Download the Renewal Applications Forms from USCIS
This is perhaps one of the most important steps when it comes to renewing your DACA application. Without the renewal forms, your request for a new DACA will not be accepted.
Furthermore, you cannot copy an outdated form from previous years. You will need to download the up-to-date ones found on the USCIS website, the page dedicated to DACA renewal.
There are several forms that you may want to download, and they are I-821D, I-765, I-765WS, and G-1145. The last form is optional, which is why you may want to read the terms beforehand. If you believe it is necessary, you may want to mail that form in as well.
Complete Your DACA Renewal Application
When filling in your DACA application, you may once more use the previous forms as a guide. This way, you will know that you’re filling the fields correctly. After all, you got your approval based on them.
If you have not copied the previous forms prior to mailing, you may want to read them as carefully as possible. Most applications arrive with their own instructions that tell you exactly what to fill out where – and the rest of it is completed by using your own knowledge.
To ensure legibility, you might want to fill yours on the computer. This way, the one reviewing your application will not stare confused at your writing. If you have no possibility of filling it in digitally, you might want to use a black ink pen – and make the writing as legible as possible.
Ideally, you may want to use capital letters for the content – and only use small caps for the necessary spaces. For example, your email will have to be written using small caps, if that was what you initially used.
Write Your DACA Renewal Cover Letter
USCIS agents like it when things are made easy for them – and a cover letter will certainly help in that respect. This way, when they are reviewing your application, they will know exactly what your application is all about simply by taking a glance.
If you do not have your previous cover letter, you may also use a cover letter sample downloaded online. However, you should customize it to fit your own application. No one likes to read the same cover letter over and over.
When writing out your cover letter, you might want to create a checklist of the items that you plan on adding in your application. Try to include copies of everything from the template, except the Advance parole stamp. This is only necessary if you traveled outside the United States since your last renewal – and will determine whether you fit the requirements or not.
To make things easier to read, you might want to type the cover letter on a computer and then print it out. Writing it by hand might make it difficult for the agent to read – particularly if you have bad writing. Also, proofread – and then proofread it again before sending it out. The last thing you want is for you to lose points simply because you misspelled something.
Purchase a Money Order
When sending out the application package, you must also include the $495 money order that was written for the “U.S. Department of Homeland Security.” And make sure that you spell it exactly that way. If you write it for the “USDHS,” or the “DHS,” they may not be able to cash in the money. This money is necessary for covering the processing and biometric fees.
You might be tempted to send cash or a personal check; however, you might want to refrain from doing so. The more officially you address the situation, the more seriously you will be taken. You can purchase the money order from the U.S. Post Office that you plan on sending the package from (if you are not opting for a courier), and the process will be simplified.
Mail Your Application
Once you have gathered everything from your DACA renewal checklist, all that is left for you to do is send in your application. For easier reviewing, you might want to pack your documentation in the following order:
- The $495 money order
- The cover letter
- The form G-1145 (completed)
- The form I-821D (completed)
- The form I-765 (completed)
- The form I-765WS (completed)
- Copies of any supportive evidence that you might have
Where you send the application will depend on your own location. USCIS has made available a set of addresses where you can send the package based on your location. Just find the state that you live in, and then choose the address depending on your delivery service: U.S. Postal Service (USPS) or FedEx, DHL, and UPS.
Ideally, you may want to refrain from stapling the application papers together. This might make it troublesome for the reviewer, and you might end up having your application rejected by the USCIS. Go for paper clips instead.
You may also want to use a priority shipping method that features a tracking number. In this respect, the flat-rate envelopes from the USPS Priority Mail might be the most suitable choice. Always double check your application for accuracy before sending it in.
Getting your DACA renewal might seem scary, considering all these changes and uncertainties. However, as long as you’ve previously had a DACA and you fit the criteria, there’s no reason why you should not be able to get a new one. All you need to do is to respect the DACA renewal checklist.