Overview of the DACA Renewal Process
There have been a lot of questions recently surrounding DACA and whether the program would continue to operate after the Trump administration rescinded it in September of 2017. For now, under federal court orders, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is accepting renewal requests until further notice.
Who can Renew
According to the USCIS, those who met the initial 2012 DACA guidelines are eligible to request a renewal. In addition, to be eligible, you:
- Did not depart the United States on or after August 15, 2012, without prior parole.
- Have continually lived in the US since your most recent DACA request was approved.
- Have not been convicted of a significant misdemeanor, three or more misdemeanors, or a felony, and you do not pose any threat to public safety or national security.
If you are unfamiliar with the 2012 guidelines, the Department of Homeland Security has published the official memo online that confirms the requirements. Some of these include that you:
- Must have come to the United States while you were still under 16 years old.
- Have continuously resided in the country for at least five years prior to the DHS memorandum and were present in the US at the time of the memo.
- 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.
- Cannot be convicted of multiple misdemeanors or a significant misdemeanor, a felony, or pose any threat to public safety and/or national security.
- Cannot be over the age of 30.
How to File a Renewal
DACA recipients who are up for renewal need to complete and sign Form I-821D, which is a Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. Be sure you are using the most recent form or it will be rejected by USCIS. You also need to complete Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, and the worksheet for Form I-765.
Currently the USCIS is attempting to process all DACA renewal requests within 120 days. If your renewal has been pending for over 105 days, you can contact them directly online to check status.
There is no need to file any new documents at the time of renewal unless these documents are removal proceedings or notations about criminal history that were not previously submitted to the USCIS for an approved DACA request. Other documentation you will need to submit is proof of any legal name change and proof of advance parole if you left the United States since you filed your last approved DACA request. Please seek the services of an attorney if you have documents pertaining to removal proceedings or notations about criminal history.
There may be situations in which the USCIS will request additional information or documents in order to verify renewal DACA applications. This can include contacting schools and colleges, employers, or other government agencies.
Like other government documents, if you fill out the form and knowingly provide false statements on your Form I-821D, it is a felony which is punishable by fine or up to five years in prison, or a combination of both. You can also find yourself placed in removal proceedings. If you have a question about this please seek the advice of an immigration attorney.
Work Permits and DACA Renewals
When you submit your DACA renewal, you will need to submit Form I-765 which is the application for work authorization. This is what allows you to seek legal employment in the United States. It is crucial to ensure that all sections are filled out on the application, especially the following sections otherwise your form will be rejected:
- Number 1 (full name)
- Number 3 (mailing address in the United States)
- Number 6 (your date of birth)
- Number 20 (category of eligibility)
Current fees for Form I-765 are $495. This is $410 for the form and an extra $85 biometric services fee that applies to people with one of these eligibility categories:
- (c)(33) Requesting consideration of DACA
- (c)(35) A beneficiary of an approved employment-based immigrant petition and you are facing compelling circumstances
- (c)(36) Spouse or unmarried dependent child of a beneficiary of an employment-based immigration petition who’s facing compelling circumstances
If you are filing under any other eligibility category, the fee is only $410 rather than $495. If you want to receive an email or text when the USCIS accepts your Form I-765, you must submit Form G-1145, which is the E-Notification of Application/Petition Acceptance form. It must be completed and attached to the front of the first application page.
It is important that you do not let your work permit expire because you waited too long to file your renewal or submitted the wrong or incomplete information. To lessen your chances of having your work permit expire beforehand, start by filing your renewal request at least 150 days ahead of time, no less than 120 days before the expiration date noted on your current DACA approval notice.
The USCIS has started mailing out renewal notices 180 days prior to the expiration to give applicants added time as a reminder to start the process earlier. If you receive your notice, it is smart to begin the renewal process immediately to ensure your work permit does not expire while your DACA renewal is being processed. Give us a call to get started!
Applying for Work
Once you have received your EAD, you can legally apply for jobs. Employers are allowed to ask employees to fill out an I-9, which is a verification of employment eligibility. You have to present documents, like your EAD, that show you are authorized to work in the country.
Applying for a Social Security Number
Once you have received your DACA approval and work authorization (EAD), you can proceed to file for a social security number. This is done at a Social Security Administration office in person, and you must have your EAD and show proof of age and identity. If you have been issued an EAD, you can legally work without obtaining a social security number, as the EAD is proof that you are authorized to legally work in the United States. It is still recommended you apply for one as it can offer additional benefits. According to the National Immigration Law Center, reasons to apply for a social security number include:
- Can provide an alternative form of identification
- Can assist with obtaining a state identification card
- Can make it easier to apply for a rental property
- Can properly complete a W-4 federal tax withholding form
- Can assist with obtaining a loan
- Can help with an employer who needs to do a background check, which may be required for some jobs
Potential Fee Waiver Exemptions
If you are hoping to secure a fee waiver exemption, there are very few available, and none of them can be used for employment authorization applications that are connected to your DACA request. To request a fee exemption, it must be filed and adjudicated prior to filing the request for DACA. To be considered for a fee exemption, you must submit a letter and the necessary supporting documents that show you meet one of these specific conditions:
- You are under 18 years old and are homeless
- You are under 18 years old and your income is less than 150% of the national poverty level, and you are in foster care or lack any other parental or familial support
- At the time of your request, you have amassed $10,000 or more in debt during the last 12 months because of unreimbursed medical expenses for yourself or another immediate family member, and your income level is below 150% of the national poverty level
- You are unable to care for yourself due to a chronic disability and your income falls below 150% of the national poverty line
Learn More about Arizona Statewide Paralegal Document Preparation Services
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