Contributed by Aaron Hall, Senior Attorney
As explained last month in this space by Kim Tremblay, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”) issued guidance for those initially granted Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (“DACA”) by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (“ICE”) between June 15 and August 15 of 2012. This guidance does not apply to most people with DACA. The vast majority of those with DACA filed their applications with USCIS after August 15, 2012 and has not yet received any guidance.
Those granted DACA after August 15, 2012, have no guidance on how to renew the application. USCIS may only accept DACA renewal applications within 120 days of the expiration date. This will put a tight timeline on applicants to make sure that they apply at the beginning of this window to give themselves the best chance to not have a gap (or to minimize the gap) between the expiration of their current grant of DACA and the approval of the renewal.
USCIS has been encouraged to accept a receipt notice from the DACA renewal form as proof of the continuing grant of DACA pending a decision on the renewal application. It is not yet clear whether they will implement this. If not, many applicants applying for renewal may experience a gap in time between the expiration of their current grant of DACA and the approval of their renewal where they have no documentation. For many, this will jeopardize school enrollment, employment, and the validity of driver’s licenses amongst other issues.
As of February 20, 2014, USCIS indicated that guidance would be issued regarding renewals for those granted DACA in “coming months.” We hope that guidance will be coming shortly. In the meantime, we continue to encourage those who anticipate having to renew DACA to put aside $465 for filling fees and to gather documents regarding their physical presence in the U.S. over the past two years. They should also document their attendance in or graduation from any schools over the past two years. In addition, DACA renewal applicants should contact their attorneys about six months before their status is set to expire. Being prepared with the information and documentation likely to be required should make it easier to quickly apply for renewal when guidance is released.
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