What Is DACA?
Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) is a kind of administrative relief from deportation. The purpose of DACA is to protect eligible immigrant youth who came to the United States when they were children from deportation. DACA gives young undocumented immigrants: 1) protection from deportation, and 2) a work permit. The program expires after two years, subject to renewal.
What Are The Requirements For DACA?
- You were under 31 years old as of June 15, 2012;
- You first came to the United States before your 16th birthday;
- You have lived continuously in the United States from June 15, 2007 until the present;
- You were physically present in the United States on June 15, 2012 and at the time you apply;
- You came to the United States without documents before June 15, 2012, or your lawful status expired as of June 15, 2012;
- You are currently studying, or you graduated from high school or earned a certificate of completion of high school or GED, or have been honorably discharged from the Coast Guard or military (technical and trade school completion also qualifies); and
- You have NOT been convicted of a felony, certain significant misdemeanors (including a single DUI), or three or more misdemeanors of any kind. Consult with an attorney about ANY contact you have had with law enforcement or immigration authorities.
What’s The Process?Consult a qualified attorney before submitting any application to immigration authorities:
- Get Help: Don’t apply alone. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for legal help.
- Collect Evidence: See below for a detailed list of required documents. Remember to only send copies (not originals) of supporting documents.
- Complete Applications:
- G-28 – Notice of Entry of Appearance As Attorney (Optional)
- G-1145 – E-Notification (Optional)
- Form I-821 – Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals;
- Form I-765 – Application for a Work Permit; and
- Form I-765WS – Worksheet explaining your economic need to work.
- Submit Applications: Include all supporting documents, two photos and fees. The fee is $495.00 (pay using a check or money order payable to Department of Homeland Security). Mail to: USCIS Phoenix Lockbox, PO Box 20700, Phoenix, Arizona 85036-0700
- Background Check and Fingerprints: You will receive a receipt by mail that contains your receipt number and an appointment notice to get your fingerprints taken for a background check.
- Final Steps: Once you have been fingerprinted, you will receive either a letter asking for additional information (called a Request for Evidence) or a final decision. Most applicants receive a final decision 6-8 months from the date they apply.
LIST OF DOCUMENTS:Start collecting supporting documents for your application – the more organized you are, the easier the process will be!
Proof of Identity and Date of Birth
- Birth Certificate
- Consular I.D./National I.D./Cédula
- School ID
Proof That You Were Physically Present in the U.S. on 6/15/2012
- A verifiable, formal document with your name and the date 6/15/2012; or
- An official document with your name and a date just before 6/15/2012, and another dated just after 6/15/12.
(Examples: school records, pay check stubs, bank statements, credit card receipts, etc.)
Proof You Had 5 Years of Continuous Residence in the U.S. (June 2007 – June 2012)
(If you don’t have school records/transcripts showing that you were present in the U.S. continuously for the past 5 years, provide 1 document for every three months from June 2007 through June 2012).
- School Records
- Financial Records (taxes, bank statements, credit card bills, rent receipts, utility bills, phone bills)
- Employment Records (pay stubs)
- Medical Records (physicals, vaccination records, prescriptions, dental records, etc.)
- Other records: religious certificates, volunteer records, personal statements, etc.
Proof You Are In School, Have a High School Diploma/GED, or Were Honorably Discharged from the Military
- School Transcript or Report Cards if currently studying;
- High School Diploma or GED Certificate; or
- Military Discharge Papers
Proof That You Entered the U.S. Before the Age of 16
- School Records
- Medical Records (vaccinations, physicals, etc.)
- Expired Visa, I-94 card, or Passport with Entry Stamp
- Discuss other forms of proof with a legal advisor
Proof That You Are Not Ineligible Due to a Criminal Conviction or a Threat to National Security/Public Safety
- All applicants will be fingerprinted and subject to a background check of all police, juvenile, and immigration records. If you have ever had contact with the police or immigration authorities, get a copy of your records to review with an attorney before applying for DACA. We can explain how to do this. (Examples: criminal court records, juvenile court records, driving record from DMV, state criminal background check results, FBI background check results, etc.)
- Two passport-size color photos.
WHO CAN APPLY FOR DACA RENEWAL?Only persons who already have an approved DACA case are eligible for renewal.
You are still eligible for DACA renewal even if:
- You are now over 31. You cannot age out of the program.
- You have graduated or are studying at a different school or program.
WHEN TO APPLY FOR DACA RENEWAL?Apply at least 150 days before your DACA and work permit expire. However, USCIS is now accepting applications more than 150 days prior to the expiration date, so you can apply as early in advance as you want to. If you apply for renewal in this time range, you should receive an approval notice and new work permit before your current one expires.
It is important to apply for renewal on time to avoid losing protection from deportation, being without valid work authorization, and accruing unlawful presence once your Deferred Action relief expires.
WHAT’S THE PROCESS?
- Get Help: If you’re a Berkeley student, contact email@example.com for legal support.
- Calculate When to Apply for Renewal: Submit your application at least 150 days (5 months) before your DACA and work permit expire. We do not recommend filing it any later than four months in advance.
- Complete Applications:
- Form I-821D – Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). Indicate this is a renewal application and only complete sections required for renewal applicants. Provide updated information in those sections.
- Form I-765 – Application for Employment Authorization (EAD). Indicate the application is for a renewal EAD (work permit). List your current status as “DACA recipient,” and for question 16 the eligibility category is (C)(33).
- Form I-765WS – Worksheet. Briefly explain your economic need to work.
- Submit Applications: Include two passport photos, copy of current work permit and fee. The fee is $495.00. Pay using a check or money order payable to the Department of Homeland Security. Mailing address for California residents:
USCIS Phoenix Lockbox, P.O. Box 20700, Phoenix, Arizona 85036-0700
- Schedule Appointment: You will receive a receipt by mail and a biometrics (fingerprinting) appointment notice.
- Final Steps: After being fingerprinted, you will receive either a letter asking for additional information (called a Request for Evidence) or a final decision.
WHAT DO I INCLUDE IN THE RENEWAL APPLICATION?
Your renewal application is an update to your initial application. Update your address, any travel you did under advance parole, any arrests or criminal issues that took place since your initial application, and any contact with immigration authorities or the immigration court since your first application.
Make sure that the information in your renewal application is consistent with your initial DACA application. If you need a copy of your initial application, you can request one by filing Form G-639 with USCIS. If your address has changed, include the new address on the application and complete a change of address with USCIS, which you must complete any time your address changes.
You do not need to submit or re-submit any documentation with your renewal application — just a copy of your work permit.
The exception is if there has been a change since your initial application regarding your Immigration Record (your case is pending in immigration court, you were detained by immigration authorities, etc.), or your Criminal Record (you were arrested, detained, and/or convicted of a crime). If either of these apply to you, consult an attorney, make sure your application reflects this new information, and submit evidence that this change in your situation does not impact your DACA eligibility (for example, the court disposition regarding a criminal case or an immigration judge’s order closing your case).
WHERE CAN I GET MORE INFORMATION?
Additional DACA Resources
- Step-by-Step Guide for DREAMers Applying for DACA
- Deferred Action FAQs
- Suggested Documentation Evidence
- Beyond Deferred Action Guide: Long-Term Immigration Remedies Every DREAMer Should Know About
- Advice on Getting Legal Help
- Comparison of Benefits and Rights Based on Immigration Status
- DACA Educator Toolkit
- DACA Mini Grants (for college graduates who’ve already been approved)
Information provided by Prerna Lal, East Bay Community Law Center, firstname.lastname@example.org