daca renewal process

DACA Renewal Process: How To Renew Your DACA Status

If you haven’t heard of the term “DACA” then you haven’t been watching the news lately. Thanks to the Obama administration, immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as children have protection under DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) to stay legally in the U.S. for a specific period of time. This post will help you understand the DACA renewal process and how to apply.

If you haven’t been granted DACA before, it’s unlikely you will now because Trump has put a hold on new applications. But if you’ve been approved before and it’s close to expiring, you can renew your DACA status now!

daca renewal

Case Example:

Javier came to the United States at age 11 with his mother from El Salvador. He didn’t realize that he was undocumented until he was ready to attend college and that’s when his mother told him. After he turned 18 he applied for DACA status when President Obama created the program in June 2012.

He was finally approved for DACA and allowed him to legally attend college and not worry about deportation. After 2 years his DACA status was about to expire when he started looking into how to renew it.

Who Can Apply For DACA Renewal?

USCIS says that you must meet the initial 2012 DACA guidelines before you are eligible to request a renewal. The following must also be true to be eligible for DACA renewal:

  • You did not leave the United States on or after August 15, 2012, without prior advanced parole.
  • You must have continually lived in the US since your most recent DACA request was approved.
  • You have not been convicted of a major misdemeanor, three or more misdemeanors, or a felony, and you do not pose any threat to public safety or national security.

Overview of 2012 DACA guidelines:

  • You came to the United States while you were still under 16 years old.
  • You have continuously lived in the US for at least five years prior to 2012.
  • You must be currently enrolled in school, be a high school graduate, received a general education development certificate, or be honorably discharged as a veteran from the Armed Forces or Coast Guard.
  • You cannot be convicted of multiple misdemeanors or a significant misdemeanor, a felony, or pose any threat to public safety and/or national security.
  • You cannot be over the age of 30.

daca renewal process

How To Renew Your DACA Status

Okay, now that we know a little about DACA renewal and who is eligible, let’s find out how to apply.

STEP 1: When will your DACA expire?

One of the most important dates you need to remember is when your DACA status will expire. This date will then determine when you need to file for DACA renewal so you don’t miss your filing window.

  • Look at the I-797 Notice of Action under “Notice Type.”
  • Look at your employment authorization document (EAD) under “Card Expires.”
  • You can file for DACA renewal between 120-150 days of your renewal window.

Filing your DACA renewal within this filing window will help you to avoid having -your DACA and EAD expire before your get approved for renewal.

STEP 2: Figure out when your optimal “filing window” is.

While you can file your renewal at any time, USCIS recommends that you file your renewal application NO EARLIER THAN 150 days before your DACA expires and NO LATER THAN 120 days before it expires.

Filing within this window of time will help you avoid having your DACA and EAD expire.

STEP 3: File form I-821D and I-765, submit to USCIS.

If you submitted your initial DACA application to ICE, you must still send the DACA renewal application to USCIS. Below is a sample cover letter for form I-821D:

Dear USCIS officer,

Enclosed please find a completed application for the renewal of deferred action. This application includes the following:

  • Payment of $495 made out to “Department of Homeland Security”
  • E-notification of application/petition acceptance
  • Completed form I-821D, I-765, I-765WS
  • Copy of previous I-765 approval notice
  • Copy of previous I-765 approval notice
  • Copy of previous I-821D approval notice
  • Copy of previous Employment Authorization Document (Work Permit)
  • Copy of Advanced Parole Document (I-512L) with parole stamp
  • Copy of foreign passport with parole stamp

Thank you for your time.



STEP 3: Pay the DACA renewal fee.

It will cost $495 to renew your DACA status before it expires.This fee includes the processing of employment authorization and biometrics.

There are some circumstances where the DACA fee can be exempted. To request DACA fee exemption, you must provide a letter and supporting documents that show the following:

  • You are under 18 years of age, homeless, in foster care, or under 18 years of age and otherwise lacking any parental or other familial support and your income is less than 150% of the U.S. poverty level,
  • You cannot care for yourself because you suffer from a  serious chronic disability and your income is less than 150% of the U.S. poverty level,  or
  • You, at the time of the request, accumulated $10,000 or more in debt in the past 12 months as the result of unreimbursed medical expenses for yourself or an immediate family member and your income is less than 150% of the U.S. poverty level.

Where To Send Your DACA Renewal Application

Regardless of whether you submitted your DACA application with ICE or USCIS, you must send the renewal application to USCIS. Below are the filing locations to send your application based on the state you currently live in.

I live in … For U.S. Postal Service (USPS): For FedEx, UPS, and DHL deliveries:
Arizona, California USCIS Phoenix Lockbox Facility

P.O. Box 20700
Phoenix, AZ 85036-0700

USCIS Phoenix Lockbox FacilityUSCIS
Attn: DACA
1820 E. Skyharbor Circle S
Suite 100
Phoenix, AZ 85034
Alaska, Alabama, Arkansas,
Florida, Guam, Hawaii, Idaho,
Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana,
Minnesota, Missouri, Mississippi,
Montana, North Dakota,
Nebraska, New Mexico,
Oklahoma, Puerto Rico,
South Dakota, Tennessee,
Texas, Utah, U.S. Virgin Islands,
or Wyoming.
USCIS Dallas Lockbox FacilityUSCIS
P.O. Box 660045
Dallas, TX 75266-0045
USCIS Dallas Lockbox FacilityUSCIS
2501 S. State Hwy.121, Business
Suite 400
Lewisville, TX 75067
Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware,
District of Columbia, Georgia,
Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky,
Massachusetts, Maryland, Maine,
Michigan, Nevada, North Carolina,
New Hampshire, New Jersey,
New York, Ohio, Oregon,
Pennsylvania, Rhode Island,
South Carolina, Virginia, Vermont,
Washington, Wisconsin, or
West Virginia.
USCIS Chicago Lockbox FacilityUSCIS
P.O. Box 5757
Chicago, IL 60680-5757
USCIS Chicago Lockbox Facility

Attn: DACA
131 S. Dearborn – 3rd Floor
Chicago, IL 60603-5517

More information about DACA filing address from USCIS.gov.

How Long For DACA Renewal To Be Approved?

Everyone who submits a DACA renewal application is anxious to know when it will be approved. So, you are not alone in feeling this way! I’ve put together a timeline of the process as a whole and how long you can expect to wait for your approval notice.

  • DACA approval noticeReceipt of e-notification. (1 week after filing)
    • You will only receive this notice if you filed form G-1145. This form is free and allows USCIS to notify you when they receive your application by email or text message. I highly recommend that you include this form!
  • Receipt of application notice (2-3 weeks after filing)
    • This receipt notice is sent to you after USCIS initially reviews your application. It doesn’t mean that your application has been fully reviewed just yet, it just means that everything that is required to file has been received (payment, I-821D, supporting documents). Save this receipt notice as it will contain your receipt number that you can use to check the status of your case.
  • Appointment notice for biometrics. (4-6 weeks after filing)
    • After a few weeks of your application being accepted by USCIS, you will be notified of your biometrics appointment in the mail. Do not miss this appointment! USCIS will not be able to continue processing your case until this step is complete. Remember, you can do an early walk in for your biometrics on the same day as your appointment.
  • Biometrics Appointment (6-8 weeks after filing)
    • At the biometrics appointment, you will be fingerprinted and photographed. This is to make sure you are who you say you are and to complete background and security checks.
    • If you will not be in the United States on the day of your appointment, you will need to contact USCIS to reschedule.
    • You must bring the following to your appointment:
      • Passport or national photo identification issued by your country
      • Driver’s license
      • Military photo identification
      • State-issued photo identification card

TIP: If you are concerned about your criminal history and how it will affect your DACA renewal, contact an experienced immigration lawyer to pull a full criminal background to determine if you are ineligible to renew your DACA.

  • Adjudication of form I-821D DACA renewal (5-10 months after filing)
    • If you submitted all the required documents and evidence, your I-821D will be approved! Congrats. USCIS will then send you the approval notice I-797C in the mail confirming your DACA renewal.
    • USCIS will then begin to process your work authorization form I-765 after I-821D is approved.
    • If your application is denied, USCIS will mail your notice I-797C explaining the reason for denial. It is then time to find a really good immigration lawyer to help you with your next options.

TIP: If you have moved since filing I-821D DACA renewal, you must notify USCIS within 30 days of the move. You can do this by completing the Alien Change of Address Card online.

  • Adjudication of form I-765 work authorization (6-12 months after filing)
    • After your I-821D application for DACA renewal is approved, USCIS will then begin processing your work authorization application. It generally takes 90 days to complete processing of form I-765.
    • If it has been longer than 90 days since your I-821D was approved but you still haven’t gotten a response on I-765, contact USCIS to get an update.

ead card

As you can see, the overall DACA renewal process can take 6-12 months. There isn’t a way to expedite this processing but it’s important that you submit all the required documents and enough supporting documents.

Final Thoughts: DACA Renewal Process

DACA renewal can be stressful for those filing because there is a lot of uncertainty whether they will be able to stay in the United States. If you feel that you are not comfortable filing form I-821D on your own, I highly recommend contacting an experienced immigration lawyer to help you file.

Yes, it will cost a good bit of money but it gives you the best chance of getting approved. Don’t cheap out and risk being deported because you make a simple mistake on the form.

If you have questions that you need answers to but can’t afford to hire an attorney just yet, consider signing up for premium support today. This allows me to help answer questions that you may have whether you decide to file DACA renewal on your own or hire someone.

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