How to Renew Your DACA Status

Updated on April 10, 2024

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) is a program that provides temporary protection from deportation and work authorization for eligible young immigrants in the United States. If you are a current DACA recipient, it is essential to renew your status before it expires to maintain your benefits. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to renew your DACA status:

30 Second Recap:

To renew your DACA status, check your eligibility, gather required documents (proof of identity, continuous residence, and current EAD), fill out Form I-821D, pay the $495 fee, and submit your application to USCIS. Wait for a decision and stay informed about any changes to the DACA program.

1. Check Your Eligibility

To renew your DACA, you must meet the initial DACA requirements and have not departed the U.S. on or after August 15, 2012, without advance parole. You must also have continuously resided in the U.S. since your most recent DACA request was approved.

2. Gather Required Documents 

You will need to provide proof of identity, proof of continuous residence, and any other supporting documents. These may include a copy of your current Employment Authorization Document (EAD), passport, and/or other identification documents.

You can print the full DACA renew checklist here.

3. Fill Out The Renewal Application 

Complete Form I-821D, Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. Make sure to provide accurate and up-to-date information.

It is not required, but is strongly recommended, that your renewal application be accompanied by a DACA renewal cover letter. The cover letter allows you the opportunity to help make the case for your status to be renewed and improve your chances for approval.

4. Pay The Application Fee 

As of 2024, the renewal application fee is $495. You can pay by money order, personal check, or cashier’s check, made payable to “U.S. Department of Homeland Security.”

For a comprehensive overview of all of the renewal fees, see our DACA renewal Fees Guide.

5. Submit Your Application 

Mail your completed Form I-821D, supporting documents, and application fee to the appropriate USCIS lockbox facility. It is recommended to use a trackable shipping method.

6. Wait For A Decision

After submitting your renewal application, USCIS will review it and may request additional evidence or schedule an interview if needed. The processing time for DACA renewals varies, so it is essential to apply well before your current DACA expires. Note there are many reasons why your DACA renewal might be delayed. For a list of the major reasons why your renewal hasn’t completed yet, check our our post on DACA Renewal Delays.

DACA Renewal Processing Times

As of 2024, the typical processing time for DACA renewals is between 6 to 12 months. However, processing times can vary depending on several factors:

  1. USCIS workload: The volume of applications received by USCIS can impact processing times.
  2. Background checks: All DACA renewal applicants must undergo background checks, which can extend processing times.
  3. Requests for Evidence (RFE): If USCIS requires additional information or documentation to process your renewal application, it may issue an RFE, which can lengthen the processing time.
  4. Biometrics appointments: Processing times may be affected by the availability of biometrics appointments at your local USCIS office.

For a more comprehensive look at possible reasons your DACA renewal has been delayed, check out this post.

Consequences of DACA Expiration Before Renewal

As a DACA recipient, it is crucial to stay informed about the expiration date of your status and to apply for renewal in a timely manner. However, if your DACA expires before you have the opportunity to renew, you may face several consequences that can impact your daily life and future opportunities.

Consequences of DACA Expiration

  1. Loss of work authorization: Once your DACA expires, you lose your eligibility to work legally in the United States. This means you must stop working until you can renew your status.
  2. Loss of protection from deportation: DACA provides a temporary shield from deportation. When your status expires, you lose this protection and may be at risk of removal proceedings.
  3. Difficulty with travel: If your DACA expires, you lose the ability to apply for advance parole, which allows you to travel outside the United States and return lawfully.
  4. Challenges with education: Some states and institutions offer in-state tuition or financial aid to DACA recipients. Expired DACA status may disqualify you from these benefits.

Steps to Take if Your DACA Expires

  1. Gather necessary documents: Collect proof of your DACA status, such as your work permit and any previous DACA approval notices.
  2. Consult with an immigration attorney: An experienced immigration lawyer can help you understand your options and guide you through the renewal process.
  3. File for renewal as soon as possible: Once you have gathered the necessary documents and consulted with an attorney, submit your DACA renewal application as quickly as possible.
  4. Avoid unauthorized employment: Do not continue working if your DACA has expired, as this can jeopardize your future renewal attempts and may lead to legal consequences.

Final Thoughts

It is important to stay informed about any changes to the DACA program and to consult with an experienced immigration attorney if you have any questions or concerns about your renewal application.

It is also possible to renew your DACA status online. To learn more about online DACA renewals, check out our guide.

As of 2024, the DACA program remains in effect, but its future is uncertain due to ongoing litigation and potential policy changes. It is crucial for DACA recipients to stay updated on the latest developments and seek professional guidance to protect their status in the United States.

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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.

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