How to Renew Your DACA in 2020

Read our guide on the DACA case at the Supreme Court and on what this may mean for your DACA renewal application.

USCIS Update Regarding COVID-19

There is a lot of confusion about how the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic might affect immigration policy. Some U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) offices have begun to reopen. Most USCIS offices will reuse biometrics from previous DACA renewals, but depending on your local USCIS office you may receive a new appointment notice for your biometrics OR USCIS will reuse your biometrics information. If you do not receive an appointment notice or notification of biometrics reuse by mail within 90 days of your local office reopening, call 800-375-5283. For more information on USCIS reopenings or updates please visit the official USCIS website.

DACA at the Supreme Court

  • On November 12th, 2019, the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) heard oral arguments on three consolidated Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) cases. The hearing came after the Department of Justice (DOJ) requested to fast-track the three cases that were pending at the lower federal courts (New York, Washington, D.C., and California) in order for them to be heard at the Supreme Court level.

 

  • On June 18, 2020, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled in favor of DACA recipients. The Supreme Court agreed with the lower courts’ ruling that the Administration unlawfully ended the program. The Court’s decision was supposed to restore the 2012 Obama Administration DACA policy in full. The court’s decision ordered the Administration to reopen DACA for new applicants, reopen Advance Parole, and allow current DACA recipients to continue to renew their status.

 

  • July 28th and August 21st. Although the Supreme Court ordered for the DACA program to be restored to how it was originally, on July 28, 2020 the Administration issued a new memo stating they will reject new first-time applicants. On August 21st, 2020 USCIS provided details on the changes to the program. The administration stated that USCIS will reject first-time applications, allow Advance Parole requests only under exceptional circumstances, and changed DACA renewal protections from 2 years to 1 year.

 

To learn more about what to consider when deciding to renew, read UWD and Home is Here’s frequently asked questions.

Things to Consider

We know this can be overwhelming but some things to also keep in mind while you consider renewing: 

Based on the August 21, 2020 guidance from USCIS, DACA recipients should file renewal’s between 150-120 days from expiration. Filing before the 150 days will cause USCIS to reject DACA renewal applications.

The 2020 DHS memorandum will not affect current DACA recipients that currently hold a 2 year work permit. The next time you apply and are approved for renewal, your work permit will be valid for 1 year.

If you are a DACA recipient that has had interaction with law enforcement or ICE you should consult an immigration attorney or a DOJ accredited representative prior to submitting a renewal application.

USCIS filing fees for DACA renewals will remain $495, but now only valid for one year.

When submitting your DACA renewal take in consideration processing delays with the USPS considering COVID-19 delays and other possible changes. If you’ve already filed your DACA renewal request and are seeing delays, visit “Steps to Take if Your DACA Renewal Is Delayed.” 

How to Fund Your Renewal

Paying for the DACA and work permit renewal fee of $495 can be a barrier when deciding to renew. Take a look at some recommended financial resources and advice we adapted from our friends at the HomeIsHere campaign: 

  • Find help locally
  • Personal Fundraising
    • Start a personal fundraising page on GoFundMe, which launched an effort to help DACA recipients crowd fund for renewal fees.
    • Send letters and emails to select friends or family members. Template here.
    • Instead of gifts for your birthday, ask for money to help you pay for the renewal request. 
  • Institutional help
    • Talk to your employer and ask if they can cover the cost of your renewal fee to minimize the risk that your employment would be disrupted while awaiting a decision on your DACA and work permit renewal.
    • If you are a member of a faith group, reach out to your house of worship; they may be willing to help.
    • If you are a college or university student contact your Diversity & Inclusion, Dream Center, or financial aid office for emergency assistance programs. 
    • Apply to the Voto Latino pro bono project with King & Spalding LLP UndocuNeighbor initiative. 
    • Apply to the United We Dream DACA renewal fund.

Renewal Step-by-Step Guide

With Guidance from “How To Easily Renew Your DACA” created by United We Dream

The following information will help you prepare your filing, but should not be considered as legal advice and should not replace legal advice from an attorney or certified representative. Everyone’s case is different, which is why we strongly urge you to consider seeking out assistance from local non-profit organizations that provide free to low cost legal assistance. 

1. Find a renewal clinic, accredited rep., or immigration attorney who can assist you with your filing.

2. Find your previous renewal filing and use it as a guide as you complete your new renewal filing. You can cross-reference your old and new filings to ensure the information is consistent.

3. Make sure to download the correct and most current DACA request and work permit forms directly from USCIS. If a form is out of date, USCIS may reject your filing.
You will need to download and complete the following forms: 

4. 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 filing 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.

5. Create a cover letter. A cover letter includes a checklist of the items in the filing to help the USCIS officer easily see what they are about to review. Check out UWD’s cover letter template as a starting point.

    • Get your passport photo taken to include with the I-765 form, you will need two passport photos.

6. Purchase your money order from your local U.S. Post Office or bank—we strongly advise using a money order because USCIS does not accept cash. 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 the biometric (fingerprint) and processing fees.

7. Photocopy your entire filing, including your money order and all supporting documentation, as well as any receipt for mailing your filing, and keep the copy in a safe place.

8. Package and send your DACA renewal filing. We recommend that your renewal 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
    • Two passport photos- taken within 30 days of your filing
    • Copy of the front and back of your currently employment authorization document
  • Completed Form I-765WS
  • Copies of any supporting documentation.

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

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

Tip: We also strongly 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 renewal filing for accuracy, and ideally upon final review by an attorney or legal representative, you are ready to send.

**IF you were arrested between your last DACA grant and now, you MUST go see an attorney before submitting your filing.**

Find a DACA Renewal Clinic Near You

FAQ

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 are eligible to renew your DACA, you should strongly consider gathering your paperwork, talking to an attorney or DOJ-accredited representative, and submitting your renewal application if your status expires within a year. USCIS is currently accepting renewal applications but it is uncertain how long the agency will continue doing so.

If you had DACA but your DACA expired more than a year ago, you can still renew but will need to file the renewal as if it were an initial application. You should strongly consider talking to an attorney or DOJ-accredited representative and begin gathering your paperwork. If it’s been less than a year since your DACA expired, then you can still file your renewal normally.

We understand that seeking assistance from a private attorney can be expensive for some people. We recommend you find help from non-profit organizations that provide free to low cost legal assistance. An attorney at either a private firm or at a non-profit can ask you questions that will help them determine if you might be able to apply for another type of immigration status. An attorney can also best help you make a decision about renewing based on your individual circumstances.