By Ilissa Mira
On February 19, 2014, USCIS released guidance related to DACA renewals for those individuals granted DACA by USICE between June 15, 2012 and August 15, 2012. Per the notice, this group of DACA grantees may now apply for renewal of status through USCIS. The notice also provides guidance on how to submit the renewal requests and includes a warning that gaps in deferred action periods will result in the accumulation of unlawful presence.
To qualify for renewal under this guidance, individuals must satisfy the DACA eligibility guidelines. Before submitting a request to USCIS, applicants should be screened to ensure that since their initial DACA grant, they (1) continue to meet the education guidelines, (2) have no disqualifying absences, and (3) have no criminal offense history that would bar eligibility or place the applicant at risk of removal. Approved renewal applicants will receive another two-year period of deferred action.
DACA renewal requests for this group of individuals should be submitted to USCIS following the procedures that currently apply to initial DACA requests. The request must include Form I-821D, Form I-765, and Form I-765WS, along with supporting documentation. In addition, a $465 fee must be included unless the applicant qualifies for a fee exemption. The notice states that if one’s period of deferred action expires before a DACA renewal request is approved, he or she will accrue unlawful presence and will not be authorized to work for any time between periods of deferred action. Therefore, USCIS encourages submission of renewal requests 120 days before the current period of deferred action expires.
Note that this renewal guidance only affects the small number of individuals who were granted DACA status by ICE between June 15, 2012 and August 15, 2012. USCIS is not currently accepting DACA renewal requests from individuals outside of this specific group. Individuals who were initially granted DACA by USCIS or by ICE on or after August 15, 2012 should await further guidance. On December 18, 2013, USCIS released for public comment a new draft Form I-821D, to be used for both initial and renewal applicants. We expect that a final form will not be available until May 2014.