DACA Information

IMPORTANT UPDATE – PLEASE READ (as of January 28, 2021) – Here’s what you need to know about DEFERRED ACTION FOR CHILDHOOD ARRIVALS:

On January 20, 2021, President Biden issued a memorandum noting his administration’s intention to both preserve and fortify Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). While it is not yet clear what the word “fortify” may mean for the future of DACA, it is apparent that this administration has–at the very least–committed to preserving DACA in its original form.

Recent DACA History

On June 18, 2020, the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) ruled that the Trump administration’s attempt to end the DACA program was unlawful. This was a huge victory for our clients and community! DACA recipients continued to be protected from deportation and eligible for benefits such as work authorization. Please read EBCLC’s statement about the DACA decision and our commitment to undocumented community members for more information about our next steps.

While the SCOTUS decision should have restored the DACA program in its entirety, the Trump administration substantially limited the program, as announced in a July 28, 2020 Memorandum (“Wolf Memo”) from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). However, on November 14, 2020, a federal district court found that this memorandum was issued without legal authority, invalidating the Trump administration’s attempt to restrict DACA. This was a big win! You can read more about the legal case and the latest developments on the National Immigration Law Center’s (NILC) website here and here.

On December 4, 2020, a U.S. federal district court ordered that the Wolf Memo be vacated, or be held unlawful and set aside. On December 7, 2020, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), in response to the order, published a notice on uscis.gov that:

  1. Effective immediately, the government is accepting initial DACA applications, DACA renewal requests, and applications for advance parole from DACA recipients;
  2. Any DACA and Employment Authorization Document (EAD or “work permit”) issued while the Wolf Memo was in effect are extended to two years from the date of issuance and that the government will take steps to provide evidence of this extension in employment authorization;
  3. The government must provide a mailed notice to class members (people affected by the Wolf Memo) by December 31, 2020;

There is a separate pending case in Texas where the Mexican American Legal Defense Fund is representing 22 individual DACA recipients who intervened to be part of the court case. Because MALDEF, along with the private firm Ropes & Gray LLP are the legal representatives in that case they are the best source of information on what might happen in that case. MALDEF’s Texas v. United States Case Summary, issued December 21, 2020 has the latest updates.

There may be additional changes to the DACA program in the upcoming months. Check back for updates. You can also check the NILC website or the NILC Twitter for the latest updates. Click here for the latest DACA Frequently Asked Questions (December 2020) from the Immigrant Legal Resource Center (ILRC).

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 to Renew My DACA?


All DACA renewals are being accepted by USCIS. Consult a qualified attorney before submitting any application to immigration authorities, particularly if you have had any contact with police or any unauthorized absences from the U.S.:

    1. Get Help: Don’t apply alone.
    2. Collect Evidence: See below for a detailed list of required documents. Remember to only send copies (not originals) of supporting documents.
    3. Complete Applications:
      • G-28 – Notice of Entry of Appearance As Attorney (Optional)
      • G-1145 – E-Notification (Optional)
      • Form I-821D – Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals;
      • Form I-765 – Application for a Work Permit;
      • Form I-765WS – Worksheet explaining your economic need to work; and
      • Copy of front/back of current Work Permit.
    4. 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). If you are a UC Berkeley student, your application fees will be covered by USP. Mail to: USCIS Phoenix Lockbox, PO Box 20700, Phoenix, Arizona 85036-0700
    5. 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.
    6. 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. Approvals of  DACA renewals are sometimes received as quickly as five weeks, but often take a several months from the date of application.

How do I Apply for DACA if it’s my First Application Ever?

Initial DACA applications (those people who are applying for the very first time) are not currently being accepted by USCIS.

You can find up to date information here. We will also keep this page updated.

LIST OF DOCUMENTS FOR AN INITIAL APPLICATION:


Below is a list of documents you should have submitted with your first DACA application:

Proof of Identity and Date of Birth

  • Birth Certificate
  • Passport
  • Consular I.D./National I.D./Cédula
  • California ID
  • 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 – Present)
(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 to the present month).

  • 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.)

Passport Photos

  • Two passport-size color photos.

DACA RENEWAL

WHO CAN APPLY FOR DACA RENEWAL?


You can apply to renew your DACA if you currently have DACA, if you previously had DACA but it’s expired, or if you had DACA and it was terminated.

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 and up to 364 days prior to the expiration date, so you can apply if your DACA will expire in less than 1 year. 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.

As there are ongoing lawsuits around DACA, there is some uncertainty about what will happen to DACA in the end. For now, DACA renewals are being accepted and on November 12, 2019, the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral argument on the legal validity of the DACA program. A decision is expected no later than June 2020. The Supreme Court did not “stay” any of the lower court orders, which means that DACA recipients who currently have or previously had DACA can continue to submit applications to renew their DACA. Please reach out to the USP Legal Team through usplegal@ebclc.org for advice about your particular case and the latest developments.

WHAT’S THE PROCESS?

  1. Get Help:
    • If you are a UC Berkeley student, we encourage you to make an appointment with the Legal Services Program to discuss possible travel or other immigration issues. It is particularly important to speak with a lawyer if your DACA was terminated in the past or you have had any encounters with law enforcement since your last renewal. USP will provide fee assistance to current UC Berkeley students. 
  2. Calculate When to Apply for Renewal: Given the pending case at the Supreme Court, the USP Legal Team is renewing DACA for any UC Berkeley students regardless of the expiration date. Historically, we advised individuals to submit their renewal application at least 150 days (five months) before their DACA and work permit expired. We do not recommend filing it any later than four months in advance.
  3. 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.
  4. Submit Applications: Include two passport photos, copy of current work permit and fee. The fee is $495.00. USP will provide fee assistance to current UC Berkeley students. 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
  5. Schedule Appointment: You will receive a receipt by mail and a biometrics (fingerprinting) appointment notice.
  6. Final Steps: After being fingerprinted, you will either receive a letter asking for additional information (called a Request for Evidence) or a final decision.

WHAT DO I INCLUDE IN THE RENEWAL APPLICATION?

Information:
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.

Documentation:
You do not need to submit or re-submit any documentation with your renewal application — just a copy of the front/back of your work permit and any updated addresses/places of residence since you last applied.

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

 

DACA ADVANCE PAROLE

WHAT ABOUT ADVANCE PAROLE FOR DACA RECIPIENTS?

If you are interested in applying for Advance Parole based on DACA and are new to EBCLC, please follow the instructions above to schedule a consultation. If you are already a client of ours, please contact your EBCLC caseworker. In the meantime, to prepare for an Advance Parole application please be sure you have the following:

  1. Valid, unexpired DACA Employment Authorization Card (“EAD”) that is valid for at least a year after you plan to apply for Advance Parole.
  2. Valid, unexpired passport or travel document from your country of citizenship that will be valid for at least 6 months after you plan to travel.
    • Please note: the last time that Advance Parole was available for DACA recipients there was a high demand for passports from particularly impacted countries (Mexico, Philippines, Korea, El Salvador, Guatemala). Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, foreign consulates and embassies may have severely limited services, so if necessary, please start the process of applying for a passport (or to renew your passport) as soon as you can. For example, a recent client of EBCLC’s reported that there is a four (4) month waitlist to renew passports via the Guatemalan Consulate General in San Francisco. If you are planning to do a Study Abroad program, we suggest you prioritize securing your passport well before your planned time abroad.
  3. A reason for traveling that meets the original 2012 DACA Memo guidance (for humanitarian, educational, or employment purposes). More information about this is available at this Immigrant Legal Resource Center (ILRC) guide.

Information provided by East Bay Community Law Center, usplegal@ebclc.org.

Last updated on 011/28/21.