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This article about the DACA program is part of Documented’s Glossary. We want to make it easier for all to understand the US immigration system. If you want to know more about different visa types and immigration terms, please check our library here.
We have received many questions regarding the updates on the DACA program, including its eligibility requirements for new applications and renewals. This is a summary of what we read from USCIS, updated on March 2021
What is the DACA program?
The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals or DACA program is an initiative implemented by the administration of former President Barack Obama in 2012. It protects people who came to the US as minors from deportation, which has to be renewed every two years. It also allows people who have come to the country as undocumented children to receive temporary work permits, driver’s licenses and a social security number.
About 700,000 thousand people benefit from the program.
Who Qualifies for the DACA program?
You can file a petition for the DACA program if:
- You were under the age of 31 as of June 15, 2012
- Came to the United States before reaching your 16th birthday
- You have continuously resided in the United States since June 15, 2007, to the present
- Was physically present in the United States on June 15, 2012, and at the time of filing the request for Consideration of Deferred Action with USCIS
- Had no legal status on June 15, 2012
- You are currently in school, have graduated or obtained a certificate of completion from high school, have earned a General Education Development Certificate (GED), or are an honorably discharged veteran of the Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the United States, and
- You have not been convicted of a felony, significant misdemeanor, or three or more misdemeanors, and in no other way constitutes a threat to national security or public safety.
Also read: Legal Help for immigrants in New York State
What happened recently with the DACA program?
On December 7, 2020, a US District Court ordered USCIS to reinstate the program’s requirements and benefits before the program was terminated in September 2017. This includes:
- Accepting first-time applications to consider deferred action under Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) under the terms of the DACA policy in effect prior to September 5, 2017 and in accordance with the Court’s order of 4 December 2020;
- Accept DACA renewal requests based on the terms of the DACA policy in effect prior to September 5, 2017 and in accordance with the court order of December 4, 2020;
- Accept requests for advance parole documents based on the terms of the DACA policy prior to September 5, 2017 and in accordance with the court order of December 4, 2020;
- Extend deferred action grants for one year under DACA to two years; Y
- Extend employment authorization documents from one year under DACA to two years.
With this new order, DACA recipients who previously received their deferred action for one year will automatically have their grant updated to two years. For individuals who received an EAD (employment authorization card) for one year, they will receive a notice from USCIS by January 8, 2021, which can be used as proof that they have been granted a work authorization for two years. A new EAD also occurred 30 days before your current card expires.
Are there new applications for DACA?
YES. If you qualify for deferred action under the original DACA requirements (listed above) you can still apply today.
Also read: How to Apply for a Tourist Visa Extension
I have DACA, how does the new memorandum affect me?
The memorandum will positively affect new applications, and people who have received their work permit for one year. With this memorandum, as we listed above, DACA recipients who previously received their deferred action for one year will automatically have their grant updated to two years. For individuals who received an EAD (employment authorization card) for one year, they will receive a notice from USCIS by January 8, 2021, which can be used as proof that they have been granted a work authorization for two years. A new EAD also occurred 30 days before your current card expires.
Source: Immigrant Legal Resource Center
So can I renew my DACA?
Yes, as the USCIS has resumed renewing and accepting new applications.
And is that memorandum final?
For the moment, yes, although there is a possibility that Congress will pass legislation that changes the status of the Dreamers.
I already have DACA, how do I renew it?
Complete and sign:
- Form I-821D (i-821d.pdf), Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals
- Use the most recent version of Form I-821D available on our website, or OMB edition No. 1615-0124 (exp. 4/30/21) or USCIS will deny your request.
- If you previously received DACA and your DACA expired on or after February 2019, you can still submit your DACA petition as a renewal petition. Please indicate the date your previous DACA expired in the appropriate box in Part 1 of Form I-821D.
- If you previously received DACA and your DACA expired before March 2019, or your most recent DACA grant was previously canceled, you cannot apply for DACA as a renewal (since renewal requests usually must be filed within within one year from the expiration date of your last approved period of deferred action under DACA), but you can still file a new initial DACA petition, in accordance with the instructions for Form I-821D and Form I-821D. I-765. If you are filing an initial DACA request because your DACA expired before March 2019, or because it was canceled at any time, please write the date your previous DACA ended, if available. , in Part 1 of Form I-821D.
- Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization
- Use the most recent version of Form I-765 available on our website, or USCIS will deny your application.
- Form I-765WS, Worksheet (PDF, 238.52 KB).
- Follow the instructions on the three forms to file them with USCIS. Be sure to submit the correct fees or an approved fee waiver request.
Note: Do not submit any additional documents at the time of your renewal request unless:You have new documents related to removal proceedings or criminal history that you did not previously send to USCIS in a previous DACA petition that was approved. Source: USCIS
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