DACA Processing Time

What Happens After Filing a DACA Renewal Application

1. Receipt of Application

Approximately 2 to 4 Weeks After Filing

A complete DACA application includes Form I-821D, Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, and Form I-765WS. If filed correctly, USCIS will initially respond by mailing you a receipt notice that confirms receipt of your application. Formally known as Form I-797C, Notice of Action (see example below), the receipt notice typically arrives 2 to 4 weeks after filing. If you did not properly file your application package, USCIS will send a Notice of Action to reject the application. A rejection will significantly delay your request and overall DACA processing time. Thus, it's important to prepare the DACA application package correctly and submit all required supporting documents. Learn how.

I-797C Notice of Action Example

Save your I-821D receipt notice. It contains your 10-digit receipt number. You can use this receipt number to check your case status. If you didn’t receive a Notice of Action, you can make a case inquiry.

I-821D Rejection Statistics

Last year USCIS received
DACA applications
But USCIS rejected about
for various reasons

Source: USCIS FY22

2. Biometrics Appointment

Approximately 5 to 8 Weeks After Filing

Next, USCIS mails an appointment notice that assigns your biometrics appointment date, time and location. (The location will generally be the USCIS Application Support Center nearest you.) USCIS requires applicants to be fingerprinted for the purpose of conducting a security clearance and criminal background check. Don’t be alarmed — All applicants must have background checks.

The USCIS biometrics appointment, also known as a biometric screening, is generally a short appointment (less than 20 minutes) so that USCIS can collect your fingerprints, photograph and signature. Your appointment notice will tell you what you need to take to the appointment. Expect to take some form of government-issued photo identification to enter the building. USCIS can accept ID documents such as:

  • Passport or national photo identification issued by your country
  • Driver’s license
  • Military photo identification
  • State-issued photo identification card
Biometric screening may be a part of the DACA processing time

This is not an interview. The appointment’s purpose is to collect your biometrics information only. Try to attend the appointment as scheduled. Rescheduling the biometrics appointment will lengthen your the DACA processing time. If you think you might have a criminal record (even a DUI), contact an immigration lawyer before going to a biometrics appointment. Some crimes will make you ineligible for immigration benefits.

I-821D Historical Processing Times at USCIS

The graph below illustrates median processing times (in months) for the previous 10 fiscal years. Form I-821D is the first segment in the total DACA processing time line. Once approved, USCIS will evaluate the Form I-765 portion of the application package.

Source: USCIS

3. Form I-821D Adjudication

Approximately 2 to 3 Months After Filing

Next in the DACA processing time line, USCIS will review your case and make a decision. If everything goes well, USCIS will approve your Form I-821D, and you will receive another I-797 letter to inform you in writing. USCIS does not begin processing Form I-765 until the I-821D is approved. If USCIS denies your application, they will mail you a notice explaining the reason.

I-821D Backlog Report

The graph below shows the number of open cases at the end of each fiscal year. Backlog has grown over the past couple of years. If unaddressed by USCIS, more backlog can contribute to longer processing times for future applicants.

Source: USCIS

4. Receive Your Employment Authorization Card

Approximately 2 to 3 Months After I-821D Approval

USCIS will not begin processing Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, until they approve your primary DACA application (Form I-821D). Evaluating Form I-765 and producing your new employment authorization card (work permit) generally adds another 2-3 months to the DACA processing time. Make sure USCIS has a current and safe address where you can receive mail.

Currently, USCIS is granting DACA and producing EAD cards that are valid for a period of one year only.

Example Certificate of Citizenship

Total DACA Processing Time

USCIS has a stated goal to processing DACA applications within 120 days. Real processing times have been much longer, but the Biden administration appears to be making some improvements.

Most DACA applications are denied or approved within
3 to 0 months
of the filing date

Although the steps that take place are fairly consistent, the DACA processing time will vary based on the USCIS case load, the USCIS office where you filed, and your ability to properly file an accurately prepared DACA application package. You only have control over the preparation.

CitizenPath Helps Optimize Your Processing Time

How long does it take to renew DACA?

Our goal is to help you renew DACA status and get your new work permit as soon as possible. And our customers generally experience some of the best DACA processing times because of our approach. Our objective is to help you prepare an application that meets the eligibility requirements and is sufficiently documented to avoid RFEs and denials. Our system was designed by experienced attorneys. Yet, we offer an affordable online system to prepare your application and guarantee USCIS approval.

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