By Kim Tremblay, Associate Attorney
A year and a half has already passed since USCIS accepted and approved the first applications for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (“DACA”) in August 2012. As DACA is granted for two years, many early DACA grantees are starting to think about renewing their status in the fall. USCIS has not yet put into place the procedure to renew DACA.
However, guidance has been issued for renewal of DACA applications filed with ICE between June 15 and August 15, 2012. Most DACA applicants are not covered by these guidelines, but those who are should apply for renewal following USCIS’s instructions 120 days before their DACA status expires.
More relevant to most DACA applicants, in December, USCIS posted drafts of the new I-821D application form and instructions online to solicit comments from the public. Although it contains a section on renewal, the information is somewhat incomplete. USCIS states on its website that final guidelines should be released in the next few months. Hopefully, the agency will post something in April at the latest, to enable those with DACA expiring in August to apply for renewal 120 days before their status expires.
What can DACA grantees do to prepare in the meantime? First, they should periodically check the USCIS website for renewal information. They should put money aside for the $465 filing fee, start gathering the supporting documents needed for renewal of the I-765 Employment Authorization Document, and be prepared to possibly document physical presence since being granted DACA. They should also obtain paperwork regarding any new educational achievements or arrests, and consult an attorney if they have been arrested since obtaining DACA to confirm continued eligibility. In addition, DACA applicants should contact their attorneys about six months before their status is set to expire. This preparatory list is tentative, not exhaustive, and does not represent all the documents needed for renewal, but should provide applicants with a bit of guidance on how to start getting ready.
Finally, individuals who think they qualify for DACA and have not applied can still do so and should consult and immigration attorney or accredited representative.
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