DACA Renewal Checklist for 2023

Updated on November 6, 2023
At a Glance: The DACA renewal checklist includes several important documents: signed and dated forms, a DACA renewal cover letter, supporting evidence, passport-sized photos, a money order for $495, and a copy of the entire renewal packet. There is no set deadline for renewal, but it is recommended to renew as early as possible. The process involves locating your previous DACA renewal application, downloading the updated renewal forms from the USCIS website, completing the application, writing a cover letter, purchasing a money order, and mailing the application to the appropriate USCIS location. Renewal eligibility requires meeting the initial DACA guidelines and residing continuously in the US. It is advised to renew one year before the expiration date, and the renewal fee is $495.
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Editors Note: In a significant legal development on September 13, 2023, District Court Judge Hanen decreed the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program to be unlawful. However, it’s important for our readers to understand the immediate implications of this ruling:

  1. Those wishing to renew their DACA status can still do so for the time being.
  2. New, first-time filings for DACA will not be entertained.
  3. Advance parole remains accessible for those who are current DACA recipients.

We will continue to monitor this evolving situation and provide timely updates.

Renewing your DACA status in 2023 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 using the checklist below.

Quick View: DACA Renewal Checklist for 2023

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:

  • Signed and dated Form I-821D
  • Signed and dated Form I-765WS
  • Signed and dated Form I-765
  • Signed and dated Form G-1145 (optional)
  • DACA renewal cover letter
  • Supporting evidence for your DACA approval
  • Two passport-sized photos
  • Money order for $495 for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security
  • Copy of your whole DACA renewal packet
  • Packet addressed to the correct USCIS location
  • Tracked delivery service

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.

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2023 DACA Renewal Checklist Explained

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.

Previous DACA Renewal Application

Retrieve your past DACA renewal application as proof of prior DACA status. This will guide you in ensuring consistency and completeness in your new application. Once everything is compiled, consider copying the new renewal application for future use.

Download Renewal Application Forms from USCIS

Essential to the process, ensure you download the current renewal forms from the USCIS website, specifically the DACA renewal page. Required forms include I-821D, I-765, and I-765WS. The optional G-1145 form should be reviewed before deciding its inclusion.

Complete Your DACA Renewal Application

Using your past forms as a guide, fill out the new application. For clarity, consider completing it digitally. If hand-writing is your only option, use black ink and maintain legibility, using capital letters where appropriate.

DACA Renewal Cover Letter

A clear cover letter facilitates the USCIS review. If you lack a previous cover letter, consider using an online sample but ensure customization. In the cover letter, list the items in your application for clarity. Aim for a computer-typed, error-free document. (Read below for an sample DACA cover letter)


Include a $495 money order payable to the “U.S. Department of Homeland Security.” Ensure correct spelling and avoid personal checks or cash. Obtain the money order preferably from the U.S. Post Office.

Mail Your Application

Organize your documentation in the following order:

  • $495 money order

  • Cover letter

  • Completed forms: G-1145, I-821D, I-765, I-765WS

  • Supporting evidence copies
Send the package to the appropriate USCIS address based on your location and chosen delivery service (USPS, FedEx, DHL, UPS). Avoid stapling; use paper clips. Consider using a trackable shipping method, like USPS Priority Mail envelopes.

When to Renew Your DACA Status in 2023

The timeframe for DACA renewal spans from 3 to 18 months, so in the best case scenario, you would start the renewal process at least 18 months out so as to avoid your status expiring before the renewal is complete.

Throughout this period, USCIS communicates several updates about your application status:

  • Receipt Notice (2–3 weeks post-filing) – This notice, also known as a Notice of Action, provides a unique receipt number (format: ABC1234567891).
  • Biometrics Appointment Notice (4–6 weeks post-filing) – USCIS will inform you of the scheduled date, time, and venue for your biometrics appointment within 4 to 6 weeks of your DACA renewal submission.
  • DACA Approval Notice (5–10 months post-filing) – Expect an approval letter for your Form I-821D from USCIS within 5 to 10 months from your filing date.
  • Employment Authorization Card (6–12 months post-filing) – After the I-821D approval, USCIS will process your I-765 form. This results in the issuance of your new employment authorization card, which you should receive between 6 to 12 months after initial filing.

If you don’t receive any communication within 105 days from your application submission, reach out to USCIS promptly.

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.

What is the DACA Renewal Fee

To renew your DACA status, the fee is $495. A money order for this amount should be included with your DACA renewal packet that is mailed to USCIS.

Sample DACA Renewal Cover Letter

Utilize this template to craft your DACA renewal cover letter. It’s vital to adapt it to match your specific details. In this context, you are identified as the “beneficiary”. You can duplicate this template for personal use.

[Your Full Name]
[Your Street Address]
[City, State, Zip Code]

Attn: DACA
[USCIS Mailing Address]

Subject: Renewal Request for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)

Beneficiary: [Your Full Name]

Dear USCIS Officer,

I am writing to submit my request for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) renewal. Enclosed are the following documents supporting my application:

  1. Payment evidence or Form G-1450 authorizing the fees for Form I-765 and biometrics services.
  2. Form G-1145 [include only if relevant]
  3. Beneficiary’s Form I-821D, Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals
  4. Beneficiary’s Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization
  5. Beneficiary’s Form I-765WS, Form I-765 Worksheet
  6. Beneficiary’s Form I-131, Application for Travel Document [include only if applicable]
  7. Relevant supporting documents:
    • [Document 1]
    • [Document 2]
    • [Add more as needed]

Should there be any inquiries or additional requirements, I am reachable at [Your Phone Number]. I appreciate your prompt attention to my DACA renewal request.

Warm regards,

[Your Written Signature (for hard copies)]
[Your Full Name]

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DACA Renewal Checklist 2023 FAQ

Below, you will find some commonly asked questions about the DACA renewal checklist and their answers.

What are the main components of a DACA renewal application package?

The main components typically include Form I-821D (Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals), Form I-765 (Application for Employment Authorization), Form I-765WS (Form I-765 Worksheet), and the required supporting documents and fees.

How much is the filing fee for a DACA renewal?

The total fee for the DACA renewal, as of the last update, is $495. This includes the filing fee for Form I-765 and the biometrics fee.

Can I use outdated forms from previous years for my DACA renewal?

No. It is crucial to use the latest versions of the forms available on the USCIS website.

How do I prove my continuous residence in the U.S. for my DACA renewal?

While you don’t need to proactively provide documentation proving your continuous residence for renewals, you should have related documents on hand in case USCIS requests them. These could include school records, employment records, utility bills, and other dated documents.

Do I need to undergo another biometrics appointment for my renewal?

Yes. After submitting your renewal application, USCIS will send you a notice for a biometrics appointment.

Can I travel outside of the U.S. during my DACA renewal process?

It’s risky. If you must travel, you would need Advance Parole, and even then, re-entry is not guaranteed. Consult with an immigration attorney before making any travel decisions.

How often should I renew my DACA?

Typically, DACA and the accompanying employment authorization are valid for two years and should be renewed before they expire.

What if my DACA expires before I get a renewal decision?

There can be a gap between your old DACA expiration and the start of your renewal, meaning you could temporarily lose your DACA protections and work authorization. It’s recommended to apply for a renewal 120-150 days before your current DACA expires.

How do I track the status of my DACA renewal application?

After filing, you’ll receive a receipt notice with a unique tracking number. You can use this number on the USCIS website to check the status of your application.

What happens if my DACA renewal application is rejected?

If your application is rejected, you will receive a notice explaining the reason for the denial. You cannot appeal a DACA denial, but you might be able to submit a renewal request again with additional evidence or corrections, depending on the reason for denial. It’s advised to consult with an immigration attorney in such cases.

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Frank Gogol

I’m a firm believer that information is the key to financial freedom. On the Stilt Blog, I write about the complex topics — like finance, immigration, and technology — to help immigrants make the most of their lives in the U.S. Our content and brand have been featured in Forbes, TechCrunch, VentureBeat, and more.