Guide to the DACA Renewal Delay

Updated on January 5, 2024

At a Glance

  • There is a possibility for a DACA renewal application to be delayed due to various reasons such as increased workload, missing paperwork, or criminal convictions.
  • To expedite the process, it is recommended to start the renewal early and gather all necessary documents.
  • If your renewal is delayed, you can check the online status, contact the National Customer Service Center, visit the local USCIS Field Office, reach out to the USCIS Ombudsman’s Office, submit an inquiry for “outside normal processing time,” or contact congressional representatives for assistance.

Each piece of paperwork – especially visas – have a certain “expiration point,” so to speak. That being said, when your Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) is soon to expire, the last thing you want is for a delay to occur. Is this possible? Are there any DACA renewal delays that you need to concern yourself about? This article will clear some things up.

Can a DACA Renewal Be Delayed?

Like with any kind of clerical work, there is indeed the possibility for your DACA renewal application to be delayed. As an example, it was heard that the USCIS service center in Nebraska was taking around 180 days (6 months) to process a DACA application – mentioning in a notice that it’s indeed taking them a little longer than usual.

This is why you should start your renewal process as early as possible, to prevent any problems from appearing as you are waiting for your DACA to be renewed. In most circumstances, you should expect your DACA renewal notice to be sent 6 months prior to your expiration date.

Try to gather as many documents as possible before that so that you may submit your paperwork as early as possible – therefore beating any delays that might occur. If you wait too much, you may become an undocumented immigrant.

Reasons for a Delayed DACA Renewal

There are several reasons that might cause your DACA application to be delayed. Slight delays are generally caused by a sudden influx of requests, preventing USCIS agents from going through the documentation as quickly as they can. Obviously, at this stage, it is not your fault as an applicant – but you may want to address it, as these delays might affect you as well.

Secondly, one more reason that can cause DACA delays is the absence of necessary paperwork. Whenever you have to renew your DACA, you will receive a list of documents that you’ll have to submit. If you fail to submit any of the papers from the list (or give proof on why you don’t need them), then there is a good chance there will be a delay. In most cases, USCIS will send you a notification asking for you to provide the missing documents.

Last but not least, certain things such as criminal convictions or arrests may also lead to a longer DACA renewal time. If you’ve been charged by the police or been convicted since the last time you renewed your DACA, then you might want to discuss the matter with your attorney. Considering that a certain criminal background might lead to delays in your DACA renewal process, you should seek advice from them on how to solve the matter.

What to Do If Your DACA Renewal Is Delayed

Sometimes, the people who have applied for a DACA renewal may not have received a notice of approval. Through the delays, the chances are that their work authorization and their DACA had already expired. Or maybe they received it very close to the expiration date of the previous documents. This kind of delay can easily make you feel rather anxious.

Even if you did not submit your DACA application during the time that they have recommended, there are still some steps that you may review or take to speed up the application. Depending on your circumstances, some may be more effective than others – which is why you may want to be as thorough as possible.

However, whenever you take either of the steps, you need to be able to provide the following:

  • Your name in full
  • The application receipt numbers along with your receipt dates
  • Your USCIS or alien registration number (also referred to as your A-number)
  • Your DACA and EAD expiration date
  • The information provided in the renewal application form (namely, I-91D and I-765). If you have any copies of these documents, you may want to submit them for a referral.

Once you have everything mentioned above, it is time for you to follow up on the DACA renewal process. Here is what you need to do after conducting your DACA renewal checklist:

1. Check Your Online Status

You may check your DACA case status by going online on their website and using their “My case status” feature. Here, you will be required to enter your receipt number for your DACA application and your EAS (you should have received a receipt when you opted for the renewal). The website will tell you whether your EAD has been accepted or not, saving you the stress in the meantime.

You may also make a USCIS Electronic Immigration System account (USCIS ELIS) where you can keep track of the progress of your case. If your application appears accepted, all you have to do is wait until the fine print comes in your mail. You’ll have nothing to worry about because in their books, you have officially been renewed.

2. Contact the National Customer Service Center

If you checked your case number and it still appears as pending, then you may want to check with the NCSC as well. There is a special number for that, which you may find on their website. Expect to be placed on hold for quite a long time – but eventually, you should be able to grab a hold of someone that can answer your questions. You will be sent a case confirmation number, which you need to note down somewhere. That is the number that USCIS will use to track down the inquiry of your case.

3. Contact the Local USCIS Field Office

If you do not want to discuss the matter over the phone and wish to talk to someone directly, then you may decide to make an appointment at your USCIS local office. Granted, you may be told to wait, but depending on the issue, you might receive a bit more clarity. In the end, you might be told to wait, particularly if there don’t seem to be any issues with your case.

4. Contact the USCIS Ombudsman’s Office

If your case has been pending for more than 105 days, then you might want to take it to the USCIS Ombudsman’s office. This office recommends that you only take this step after you already did the first three with no result. Follow the recommendations provided by the Ombudsman office, fill in the necessary forms with the information you have received about your case – and once more, you will be given a case number. Use it to contact one of the staff people responsible for the matter (usually, you will be given an email).

5. Submit an Inquiry for “Outside Normal Processing Time”

If the delay goes past the normal processing time (105 days) and step number three had no result, then you may submit an inquiry for “outside normal processing time.” This online inquiry should give you a response regarding the position of your case.

6. Contact Congressional Representatives

If anything else fails, you may want to get in contact with your congressional representatives. These can give USCIS a nudge to take your inquiry into consideration, getting to the bottom of it.

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Final Thoughts

As you can see, a DACA renewal delay can occasionally happen. You just need to know what steps to take in order to eventually resolve the matter.

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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.