As of right now, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program is still alive – but like other Dallas immigration attorneys, we can’t predict its future. However, if you used the program in the past, you may need to go through the DACA renewal process.
What’s Happening With DACA?
A little over a year ago, the U.S. government ended the DACA program, affecting hundreds of thousands of young people who came here as children. Federal courts stepped in and revived the program, ordering USCIS to continue processing DACA renewals. However, that may not last long.
The program’s fate may soon end up in the hands of the U.S. Supreme Court, unless Congress acts on it before then. Until that time, you can file for renewal of DACA.
Who Can File for DACA Renewal?
Not everyone qualifies for DACA renewal. You can only request a renewal of DACA if you met the requirements in the initial 2012 DACA guidelines and you:
- Didn’t leave the U.S. on or after August 15, 2012, without advance parol
- Have continuously resided in the U.S. since you submitted your most recently approved DACA request
- Have not been convicted of a felony or significant misdemeanor
- Have not been convicted of three or more misdemeanors in total
- Don’t pose a threat to national security
- Don’t pose a threat to public safety
You cannot file for DACA if you have never received it before. If you previously received DACA with protections that expired before September 5, 2016, you may be permitted to file a new initial DACA request – but it’s important that you talk to your immigration lawyer to find out whether you qualify. If your protections expired on or after September 5, 2016, you can still file a DACA renewal request.
Only people who have had DACA at some point in the past can submit a DACA renewal application.
Requirements in the Initial 2012 DACA Guidelines
The original DACA guidelines required immigrants to meet these conditions:
- You must have arrived in the U.S. when you were under the age of 16.
- You must have continuously resided in the U.S. for at least 5 years before June 15, 2012.
- You must be in school, graduated from high school, obtained a high school equivalency certificate, or be an honorably discharged veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces (including the Coast Guard).
- You must not have been convicted of a felony, a significant misdemeanor or multiple misdemeanors, or pose a threat to national security or public safety.
- You must not be over the age of 30.
What if the Department of Homeland Security Terminated Your DACA?
If you had DACA but it was cut short by the Department of Homeland Security, you can apply again. However, you’ll still have to submit evidence that proves you meet all the requirements for DACA eligibility.
How to Apply for DACA Renewal
Many people find it helpful to work with an immigration attorney when it comes to DACA renewal. Although you don’t have to use a lawyer, it’s often beneficial to have someone in your corner – and to have legal advice on what to do next as DACA makes its way toward its uncertain future.
In order to apply for DACA renewal, you and your attorney will complete several forms and submit them to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. These are the three required documents for DACA renewal:
- Form I-821D, Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals
- Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization
- Form I-765WS Worksheet
Some of these forms requires additional documentation that you’ll have to include when you file. For example, Form I-765 requires you to submit a copy of your last EAD, if you have one, as well as a copy of your Form I-94 (Nonimmigrant Arrival-Departure Record), two identical passport-style photos, and a copy of a government-issued ID.
Your attorney can guide you through the application process and let you know which forms are required with your DACA renewal application based on your situation.
How Soon Should You Apply for DACA Renewal?
If you want to apply for DACA renewal early because you’re not sure about what the future holds for the program, it’s a good idea to talk to a lawyer first. There are risks and benefits to filing early. For example, when DACA and advance parole were terminated in September 2017, USCIS stopped processing applications it had already accepted and returned application fees that were submitted with them. However, USCIS could still have the option to continue processing applications.
Another thing to think about: If you apply and USCIS grants your DACA renewal early, you might not add that much time to your authorization. If you apply now and USCIS grants your renewal, you’ll still only have 2 years after it’s approved.
How Much Does DACA Renewal Cost?
It costs $495 to file a renewal application with USCIS. If you’re having a hard time getting the funds together, you may be able to apply for a grant.
There are some fee exemptions, but they can be difficult to get. When you request a fee exemption, you must submit a letter and documentation that says:
- You’re under 18 and your income is less than 150 percent of the U.S. poverty level, and you’re in foster care or lacking parental or other familial support, or
- You are under 18 and homeless, or
- You have a serious, chronic disability that prevents you from caring for yourself and your income is less than 150 percent of the U.S. poverty level, or
- You have accumulated $10,000 or more in medical debt for yourself or an immediate family member over the past 12 months, and your income is less than 150 percent of the U.S. poverty level.
Do You Need to Talk to an Immigration Attorney About DACA Renewal?
If you need to talk to a lawyer about DACA renewal, we’re here to help. Call us at 972-992-7593 for a free consultation with an experienced immigration attorney right now.
About Davis & Associates:
Davis & Associates is the immigration law firm of choice in Houston & North Texas including Dallas, Fort Worth, Plano, Frisco, McKinney and surrounding areas. Their attorneys provide expert legal counsel for all aspects of immigration law, including deportation defense, writs of habeas corpus and mandamus, family-sponsored immigration, employment-sponsored immigration, investment immigration, employer compliance, temporary visas for work and college, permanent residence, naturalization, consular visa processing, waivers, and appeals. Attorney Garry L. Davis is Board Certified in Immigration and Nationality Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization.
Dallas Contact Info:
Address: 17750 Preston Road Dallas, TX 75252
Houston Contact Info: Address: 654 N Sam Houston Pkwy E, Suite 100 Houston, TX 77060
Phone: (832) 742-0066