DACA Renewal Advice


The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program was established in 2012 and granted eligible individuals who arrived in the U.S. before the age of 16 with a temporary, renewable two-year work permit and protection from deportation.

Unfortunately, in September of 2017 the Trump administration announced that it was ending DACA and immediately stopped accepting new applications. Over the last year, there have been many news headlines and court cases relating to the DACA program. In January 2018, a court injunction reopened DACA renewals, and since then more than 180,000 DACA recipients have renewed!

Though it hasn’t yet succeeded, the Trump Administration is determined to end DACA renewals, just like they ended initial DACA applications. With so much uncertainty, it is important to stay empowered, consult an immigration attorney and and renew your DACA now if you are eligible! Read on for the most recent update around DACA court cases.

This guide will specifically focus on what to do if you qualify for DACA renewals. And remember — with or without DACA, you have rights in the United States.

DACA Court Cases Update

For an in-depth DACA litigation (lawsuit) timeline, visit https://www.nilc.org/issues/daca/daca-litigation-timeline/

On January 22, 2019, the Supreme Court of the United State (SCOTUS) decided not to take action on the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) requests for certiorari, meaning that at this time, they will not hear arguments to overturn the lower court decisions to keep DACA in effect. While they could still decide to hear arguments in the fall term at their next conference on February 15, 2019, this positive development means they will not decide the case by this June. This means that more DACA recipients will have time to submit their DACA renewal paperwork and continue to contribute to their communities. 

This decision follows an action taken on November 5th, 2018, by the DOJ to petition the Supreme Court for a writ of certiorari (cert) on three DACA cases in the following federal courts — New York, Washington, D.C., and California. Petitioning for cert is when a losing party files with the Supreme Court to ask them to review the decision of a lower court. By petitioning for cert, DOJ is attempting to fast-track these cases to the Supreme Court, where their ultimate goal is to end the DACA program once and for all. 

Due to the uncertainty of the trajectory of this case, if your DACA expires in 2019, we strongly encourage you to consult an immigration attorney and submit your renewal application as soon as possible! You are eligible to renew if you have DACA now or have had DACA in the past. There are already tens of thousands of renewals in 2018 alone — let’s keep it up. Remember: you have rights, and you can still renew your DACA today!

Should I submit my DACA renewal application now?

If you are eligible to renew your DACA, you should strongly consider gathering your paperwork, talking to an attorney, and submitting your renewal application as soon as possible. USCIS is currently accepting renewal applications but it is uncertain how long they will continue doing so, as there is an active lawsuit trying to end the program as soon as possible.

View the guide below for a step-by-step guide to renew your DACA. If you’ve had contact with any law or immigration enforcement or have had more than 3 misdemeanors, 1 significant misdemeanor, a felony, or a deportation case since your last renewal, you should consult an immigration attorney before applying.

Unfortunately, at this time, no first-time DACA applications are being accepted, so if you were never approved for DACA you cannot apply now. If you received DACA but your DACA has been expired for more than a year, you can still renew but will need to file the renewal as if it were an initial application. And remember that no matter your immigration status, you deserve to feel supported and empowered.

Renewal Step-by-Step Guide

Provided by United We Dream (How To Easily Renew Your DACA)

1. Find your previous renewal application and use it as a guide as you complete your new renewal application. You can check them to make sure that the information on your new application is consistent with the information you submitted in your previous application.

2. Make sure to download the correct forms directly from USCIS. You can download them here. If a form is out of date or old, USCIS will not accept it and your application will be rejected.

You will need to download and complete the following forms:

3. Accurately fill out all forms. Remember to read all instructions on the forms thoroughly, and to double check your responses with the responses you included in your previous renewal application so that the information is consistent. It is recommended that you fill out the forms digitally to make sure all information is readable. If you are filling them out by hand, make sure you write clearly with a black pen.

4. Create a cover letter. A cover letter includes a checklist of the items in the submission to help the USCIS agent easily see what they are about to review. Check out UWD’s cover letter template to give you a starting point.

5. Purchase your money order. You can purchase one at your local U.S. Post Office. USCIS does not accept cash or personal checks. The money order should be for $495 and made out to “U.S. Department of Homeland Security” (do not use abbreviations like “DHS”).

The $495 covers biometric and processing fees. If you need financial assistance, visit https://unitedwedream.org/renew-my-daca/find-local-help-near-you/ for organizations near you that may be able to assist or you can set up a gofundme to crowd fund through your personal network.

6. Package and send your application. We recommend that your application packet be in the following order to make it easier for review:

  • $495 Money Order
  • Cover Letter
  • Completed Form G-1145
  • Completed Form I-821D
  • Completed Form I-765
  • Completed Form I-765WS
  • Copies of any supporting evidence.

Where should you send your application? This depends on your location. USCIS has a quick reference guide on where to send your application based on your location.

Tip: Do not staple your application together. This makes it harder for the review process and your application could even be rejected by USCIS. Instead use paper clips.

Tip: We also advise that you mail using priority shipping that includes a tracking number. The USPS’ Priority Mail flat-rate envelopes are perfect for this.


After reviewing and double-checking your application for accuracy, you are ready to send.


For a more in-depth look at the potential trajectories of pending court rulings, please visit NILC’s DACA Litigation Timeline.