A Complete Guide To

Form I-821D, Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals

Form I-821D Explained

What is Form I-821D, Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals?

Certain undocumented persons who were brought to the United States by their parents may use Form I-821D, Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, to apply for the DACA program.

Deferred action is a technical way of saying that the beneficiary is protected from deportation. It’s a discretionary determination to defer removal action of an individual as an act of prosecutorial discretion. Individuals who receive deferred action will not be placed into removal proceedings or removed from the United States for a specified period of time. It’s a temporary status, and it can be revoked at any time. However, there is no direct path to lawful permanent residence (green card) or to U.S. citizenship.

A complete DACA application actually includes Form I-821D, other forms, and supporting documents. Submitting the DACA application means that you are asking U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to allow you to stay in the U.S. temporarily until you become eligible for another form of relief, your DACA status expires, or USCIS terminates your deferral.

A grant of deferred action through the DACA program provides renewable two-year grants of:

  • Temporary relief from deportation; and
  • Employment authorization (work permit).

DACA Eligibility Requirements

Who may file Form I-821D?

Initial Applicants

Renewal Applicants

Many applicants can successfully file DACA applications by themselves. CitizenPath's online service helps you confirm eligibility and prepare Forms I-821D, I-765 and I-765WS correctly.

We provide simple, affordable, step-by-step guidance through USCIS immigration applications like the DACA application package. Individuals, attorneys and non-profits use the service on desktop or mobile device to prepare immigration forms accurately, avoiding costly delays. CitizenPath allows users to try the service for free and provides a 100% money-back guarantee that USCIS will approve your DACA application. Learn more >>

DACA Application Package

How do I file Form I-821D properly?

When filing with a request for initial consideration of deferred action or a DACA renewal, you'll need to file more than just form I-821D. The DACA application package must include three forms filed together:

  • I-821D, Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals
    This is the primary form in the package and is the actual application for deferred action.
  • I-765, Application for Employment Authorization
    Applicants must also submit a request for employment authorization (even if employment isn't desired). DACA recipients receive an employment authorization card based on approval of this form.
  • I-765 Worksheet
    Individuals applying for deferred action must also submit this supplement to Form I-765.

Applicants must file all three forms together. Initial applicants must submit several supporting documents to establish eligibility for DACA. Renewal applicants must also submit a much smaller list of documents to extend the protections of DACA. Detailed filing requirements can be found at USCIS.gov or use CitizenPath to prepare your DACA application package. CitizenPath makes the process easier. Designed by immigration attorneys, it’s an affordable way to prepare the application package and get clear guidance on the specific supporting documents to submit for your situation.

Form I-821D Instructions

How do I fill out the DACA application?

General Guidance

  • Type or print answers in black ink only. 
  • Enter “N/A” if an answer is not applicable and "NONE" if your answer is zero.
  • Foreign language documents must be accompanied by a full English certified translation.
  • Submit your application with the current USCIS filing fee. Use a personal check, money order, cashier’s check or use Form G-1450 to pay by credit card.
  • Submit photocopies for all supporting documents unless an original document is specifically required.

Part 1

  • For Information About You, indicate if you are currently in immigration detention. This is a significant distinction. Seek the guidance of an immigration attorney if you are detained. Select if this is a first-time request for DACA or a renewal application.
  • For Full Legal Name, use your current legal name. If you married in the U.S. the marriage certificate is generally a legal name change document. You can start using your married name. USCIS will use this name to issue the employment authorization card. Be sure to list any other versions of your name used in the past such as a maiden name.
  • For Removal Proceedings Information, indicate if you have ever been in removal (deportation) proceedings. Even if a past situation was resolved, it can affect your situation in the future. Speak to an immigration attorney if you're unsure.
  • For Other Information About You, do not list an alien registration number or Social Security number unless one has been issued to you.
  • For Processing Information, answer how you identify in terms of race and ethnicity. Indicate other details about your height, weight, eye color and hair color.

Part 2

  • For Residence and Travel Information, initial applicants should provide your physical address history since your initial entry to the United States. Renewal applicants may list only the addresses you've lived since submitting the most recent Form I-821D that was approved.
  • For Travel Information, provide details regarding any trips outside the United States since June 15, 2007. USCIS has indicated that you will not be penalized for any brief, casual or innocent absences outside the U.S. taken before August 15, 2012, as long as they were reasonable in purpose and time frame. Again renewal applicants may limit responses to departures since the most recent DACA application. Trips abroad with DACA should include the use of an approved advance parole document.

Part 3

  • For For Initial Requests Only, first-time applicants should provide known information about the initial entry.
  • For Education Information, first-time applicants should provide how they qualify for the education requirement (if applicable) and provide details.
  • For Military Service Information, indicate how you qualify through U.S. military service (if applicable), particularly if you do not satisfy the education requirement.

Part 4

  • For Criminal, National Security, and Public Safety Information, indicate if any of the questions apply to you. If you must answer "Yes," consult with an immigration attorney to determine if you should proceed.

Parts 5, 6 and 7

  • For Requestor's Statement, provide the requested information and important contact information so that USCIS may contact you during the process. Sign your application with black ink. A surprising number of I-821D rejections are the result of applicants forgetting to sign or signing in the wrong place.
  • For Interpreter and Preparer, provide information if applicable. If you prepared your Form I-821D, it’s only necessary to sign as the “requestor.” If another person translated or prepared the application for you, be sure Parts 6 and 7 are filled in and signed appropriately.

This is an abbreviated list of Form I-821D instructions. We highly recommend that you download USCIS instructions or use CitizenPath’s service to prepare the application. CitizenPath provides filing instructions customized to your situation. You’ll get detailed DACA application instructions that explain which supporting documents to submit, how to organize, and where to mail.

Filing Addresses for the Application

Where to file Form I-821D?

USCIS accepts the I-821D application online and via mail. They do not want applicants to submit Form I-821D in-person at USCIS offices.

At the time of writing this guide, USCIS receives applications at three locations called lockboxes: Phoenix, AZ; Dallas, TX; and Chicago, Il. Although they receive your application package at these locations, they will process them somewhere else.

Applicants who live in Arizona and California will file at the Phoenix lockbox.

If you are sending via the U.S. Postal Service, mail the package to:

Attn: DACA
P.O. Box 20700
Phoenix, AZ 85036-0700

If you will send via a courier service like FedEx, UPS or DHL, mail the package to:

Attn: DACA (Box 20700)
1820 E. Skyharbor Circle S, Suite 100
Phoenix, AZ 85034-4850

Applicants in following states will file at the Dallas lockbox: Alaska, Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Guam, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Minnesota, Missouri, Mississippi, Montana, North Dakota, Nebraska, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Puerto Rico, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, U.S. Virgin Islands, or Wyoming.

If you are sending via the U.S. Postal Service, mail the package to:

Attn: DACA
P.O. Box 660045
Dallas, TX 75266-0045

If you will send via a courier service like FedEx, UPS or DHL, mail the package to:

Attn: DACA (Box 660045)
2501 S. State Hwy.121, Business, Suite 400
Lewisville, TX 75067-8003

DACA applicants from all other states will file at the Chicago lockbox.

If you are sending via the U.S. Postal Service, mail the package to:

Attn: DACA
P.O. Box 5757
Chicago, IL 60680-5757

If you will send via a courier service like FedEx, UPS or DHL, mail the package to:

Attn: DACA (Box 5757)
131 S. Dearborn – 3rd Floor
Chicago, IL 60603-5517

Please note that USCIS does occasionally change lockbox locations. Refer to your CitizenPath filing instructions or the USCIS website for the most up-to-date information.

I-821D Application Processing Time

How long does it take?

The processing time for a DACA renewal application can vary from 3 to 6 months for most applicants. During this time, USCIS will adjudicate the request for deferred action (Form I-821D) and then process the application for employment authorization (Form I-765). For an in-depth look at what happens after filing Form I-821D, visit our I-821D processing time line.

Reporting for processing times only includes forms that were successfully filed. If an individual does not correctly prepare a form or otherwise does not satisfy eligibility requirements, USCIS will reject or deny these requests. For the most recent year, USCIS reported the following national statistics:

USCIS Rejections in 2023


36,679 Rejections
USCIS Denials in 2023


1,735 Denials

How CitizenPath Helps You

Is there an inexpensive way to file the I-821D application?

CitizenPath's affordable, online service makes it easy to prepare Form I-821D, Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. Designed by immigration lawyers, the DACA Application Package helps you eliminate the common errors that create delays, rejections and even denials. That's because the service alerts you when your answer to a question may be a problem. You'll also get customized filing instructions based on your situation. It's a powerful, do-it-yourself tool that puts you in control. And we've got your back -- CitizenPath provides live customer support and provides a money-back guarantee that USCIS will approve your application.

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