If you are a current DACA recipient, then you are already aware that the DACA protection is valid for a two-year increment, and must be renewed every two years. Given the current political climate and the uncertain future of the program, it’s important that you take caution and begin the DACA renewal process as early as possible. It’s recommended that you file for DACA renewal 4 to 5 months prior to the expiration of your 2-year term.

If you are unable to apply for the renewal before your DACA status expires, you have a 1 year grace period within which you must submit your application. Failure to submit the renewal application within a year after the expiration of the DACA term will prevent you from being able to renew, and must file an initial application instead. Since the USCIS is currently not adjudicating initial DACA applications, your application may not be processed for an unknown period of time.

At the time this article is written, the USCIS is accepting initial and renewal DACA applications, however, they are only adjudicating the renewal applications. If you believe you qualify for the DACA program and would like to apply for an initial application, please consult with an immigration attorney. Since the future of the DACA program is uncertain, he or she can assess your situation and advise whether it’s a good idea to apply for the initial request at this point in time.

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The first step in renewing your DACA status: Gather all your documents

Before you start your DACA renewal application process, it’s important to make sure you gather the necessary documents. Having the necessary information handy as you complete the application makes the process less complex and increases the likelihood that it’s done correctly.

If there has been a change in your travel history, criminal history, education history, or residence history since the last DACA renewal, make sure you gather the necessary documents and records to support such a change.

The second step in renewing your DACA status is: Complete the renewal application

After you have gathered all your documents, it’s time to complete the necessary forms, pay the required fees, and submit the application with supporting documents.

To renew an existing DACA status you must file Form I-821D (Consideration of Deferred Action of Childhood Arrivals), Form I-765 (Application for Employment Authorization), and Form I-765WS (Worksheet). Along with these forms, you must include two passport-size photos, a fee of $495 for employment authorization, a copy of the previous EAD (Employment Authorization Card), and the previous I-821D approval notice.

If you were arrested or charged with a felony, significant misdemeanor, or misdemeanor since the last DACA approval or renewal, make sure to include documents showing the results of such arrests or charges. Similarly, if you were enrolled in school during your last initial or renewal application and you have completed the course, including the GED or diploma is important. Make sure to include documents that show that you continuously resided in the United States since June 15th, 2007 – you may include records like rent, utility bills, etc. to establish continuous residence. Plus, any trips outside of the country after June 15th, 2012 must be accompanied by an advance parole document. If you have traveled with advance parole, make sure to submit the advance parole document, stamped passport page, and trip details.

The third step in renewing your DACA status: Submit Form I-821D online on via mail

You may file for DACA renewal online via the USCIS website, or by mailing in paper-based forms. The online application process requires you to create a USCIS account, log in and complete all your forms. If you decide to go with the paper-based forms, make sure you correctly and completely fill out Form I-821D, Form I-765, and Form I-765WS, and submit them with the proper fees and supporting documents.

How long does it take to renew your DACA?

The processing time for your DACA renewal application depends on the USCIS resources, your specific case, and the completeness of your application. Although it’s difficult to precisely forecast the DACA renewal processing time, currently most of the cases are getting adjudicated in anywhere from 3 to 16 months. Therefore it’s imperative that you plan ahead of time to make sure there are no gaps in your DACA status.

When should I renew my DACA?

You can renew an existing DACA status as early as 150 days before the expiration date. At the time this article is written, DACA renewal is taking anywhere from 3 to 16 months, therefore it’s important to start the process early. Any gap in your status is considered an unlawful presence and will be counted against you in the future when you apply to adjust your status.

If you are unable to renew your DACA before it expires, there is no need to panic. USCIS allows you a 1-year grace period from the expiration date to file your renewal application. However, keep in mind that if you fail to apply for DACA renewal during the 1-year grace period, you will not be allowed to renew your DACA status. In such a situation, you must re-apply like you are applying for the first time. Currently, the USCIS is not adjudicating any initial DACA applications, therefore failure to renew your DACA in a timely manner may cost you your status.

OKC DACA Lawyer: Oklahoma City Immigration Attorney

If you need help with your DACA application or would like to consult with an immigration attorney regarding the changes in your criminal, educational, or residency history since the last DACA renewal, please reach out to Niroula Law. Mr. Niroula is an immigration attorney based in OKC who has a solid understanding of the DACA procedure and U.S. immigration laws. We take pride in customer-focused service, quick response times, and reasonable fees. You can contact our firm by calling (405) 456-9250, or by filling out the Contact Us Form.