When to Renew DACA
When is the right time to renew DACA? When is to early? When is too late?
USCIS recommends that you file your request for DACA renewal 4 months before your current period of deferred action expires. But there’s more to know…
CitizenPath recommends that our clients begin preparing the DACA application 6 months before the expiration date so that there is time to collect any necessary documents and take work permit photos. We recommend that clients mail the DACA application package (all three forms) to USCIS 5 months (but no less than 4 months) before the expiration date. Here’s why:
If You Renew DACA Too Late
USCIS processing times can be very lengthy. If a person’s DACA status is expired, that individual could be without a valid work permit for a short time. The individual will not “fall out” of DACA protection status because once a renewal application is properly filed, that individual is protected. However, if the employment authorization card expires, that person may have difficult obtaining a new job. If your current period of DACA expires before you receive a renewal, you will:
- Accrue unlawful presence for any time between the periods of deferred action (unless you were under 18 years old when submitting request)
- Not be authorized to work in the United States regardless of your age at the time of filing
Note: If USCIS is unexpectedly delayed in processing your renewal request, they do have the option to provide deferred action and employment authorization for a short period of time until they are able to finish processing your request. USCIS may do this if you filed your request at least 4 months before your current period of deferred action and employment authorization expire.
If You Renew After DACA Has Expired
USCIS has indicated that you may file a renewal request for DACA up to one year after your current period of deferred action expires. Of course, during this time you will leave yourself exposed to potential immigration enforcement issues and you will be not authorized to work in the United States. After one year, the applicant must make another initial request for DACA and start the process again.
If You Renew DACA Too Early
USCIS also encourages you to file your renewal request within the recommended 4- to 5-month filing period to minimize the possibility that your current period of DACA will expire before you receive a decision on your renewal request. Requests received earlier than 5 months (150 days) in advance will be accepted; however, this could result in an overlap between your current DACA and your renewal. As a result, your renewal period may extend for less than a full two years from the date that your current DACA period expires.
Therefore, your best course is to file the DACA renewal (Forms I-821D, I-765 and I-765WS) in a 30-day window that is 4- to 5-months prior to the expiration date of your current period of DACA. Need help? Start CitizenPath’s free DACA eligibility quiz.
Are you ready to start preparing your DACA application? Get Started.