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Legislation and Policy

What is DACA?

  • Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) is an Executive Order from President Obama that went into effect in 2012. The purpose of DACA is to protect eligible immigrant youth who came to the United States when they were children from deportation.

  • DACA gives young undocumented immigrants (1) protection from deportation, and (2) a work permit.

  • The program expires after two years, but recipients may renew so long as they remain eligible.

History of DACA

  • On June 15, 2012, President Barack Obama announced that certain people who came to the United States as children and meet several guidelines may request consideration of deferred action for a period of two years, subject to renewal. They are also eligible for work authorization.

  • Deferred action is a use of prosecutorial discretion to defer removal action against an individual for a certain period of time. DACA is not a law and does not provide lawful status.

  • On August 15, 2012, USCIS starts the DACA program.

  • On September 5, 2017, President Trump rescinds the DACA program, which means that no initial DACA requests filed after this date are accepted.

  • On January 9, 2018, San Francisco federal judge issued an injunction on the rescission of DACA, requiring USCIS to accept DACA renewals nationwide, but this does not restart initial DACAs or advance parole.

  • On January 13, 2018, USCIS begins accepting all DACA renewals again. After the San Francisco federal judge’s ruling, a federal judge in New York and a judge in Washington D.C. rules against the Trump administration’s DACA termination.

  • On June 3, 2019, The Supreme Court on Monday rejected the Trump administration’s request to fast track a decision on whether it will hear a case over the president's rescission of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. The justices, in an unsigned order, denied the request, which was filed on behalf of the administration to expedite their decision on whether to review the case.

How do I apply for DACA if it's my first application ever?

Initial DACA applications (those people who are applying for the very first time) are not currently being accepted by USCIS.

You can find up to date information here. We will also keep this page updated.

Who can apply for DACA renewal?

You can apply to renew your DACA if you:

  • Currently have DACA
  • Previously had DACA but it’s expired
  • Had DACA and it was terminated

You are still eligible for DACA renewal even if you are now over 31. You cannot age out of the program.

You can also apply to renew your DACA if you have graduated, or are studying at a different school or program.

When should I apply for DACA renewal?

Apply at least 150 days before your DACA and work permit expires. However, USCIS is now accepting applications for more than 150 days prior to the expiration date and up to 364 days prior to the expiration date, so you can apply if your DACA will expire in less than 1 year. If you apply for renewal in this time range, you should receive an approval notice and new work permit before your current one expires.

It is important to apply for renewal on time to avoid losing protection from deportation, being without valid work authorization, and accruing unlawful presence once your Deferred Action relief expires. 

As there are ongoing lawsuits around DACA, there is some uncertainty about what will happen to DACA in the end. For now, DACA renewals are being accepted and on November 8, 2018, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the decision of the Federal District Court.

What is the process for DACA renewal?

  1. Get Help: If you are a UC San Diego student, we encourage you to make an appointment with the Immigration Attorney at the center to discuss possible travel or other immigration issues. It is particularly important to speak with a lawyer if your DACA was terminated in the past or you have been arrested since your last renewal. We may also be able to help you with the $495 application fee.

  2. Calculate When to Apply for Renewal: Submit your application at least 150 days (5 months) before your DACA and work permit expire. We do not recommend filing it any later than four months in advance.

  3. Complete Applications:

    • Form I-821D: Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). Indicate this is a renewal application and only complete sections required for renewal applicants. Provide updated information in those sections.

    • Form I-765: Application for Employment Authorization (EAD). Indicate the application is for a renewal EAD (work permit). List your current status as “DACA recipient,” and for question 16 the eligibility category is (C)(33).

    • Form I-765WS: Worksheet. Briefly explain your economic need to work.

  4. Submit Applications: Include two passport photos, copy of current work permit and fee. The fee is $495.00. Pay using a check or money order payable to the Department of Homeland Security. Mailing address for California residents: USCIS Phoenix Lockbox, P.O. Box 20700, Phoenix, Arizona 85036-0700

  5. Schedule Appointment: You will receive a receipt by mail and a biometrics (fingerprinting) appointment notice.

  6. Final Steps: After being fingerprinted, you will receive either a letter asking for additional information (called a Request for Evidence) or a final decision. 

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What do I include in the renewal application?

  • Your renewal application is an update to your initial application. Update your address, any travel you did under advance parole, any arrests or criminal issues that took place since your initial application, and any contact with immigration authorities or the immigration court since your first application.
  • Make sure that the information in your renewal application is consistent with your initial DACA application. If you need a copy of your initial application, you can request one by filing Form G639 with USCIS. If your address has changed, include the new address on the application and complete a change of address with USCIS, which you must complete any time your address changes.

  • Documentation: You do not need to submit or re-submit any documentation with your renewal application — just a copy of the front/back of your work permit and any updated addresses/places of residence since you last applied.

  • The exception is if there has been a change since your initial application regarding your Immigration Record (your case is pending in immigration court, you were detained by immigration authorities, etc.), or your Criminal Record (you were arrested, detained, and/or convicted of a crime). If either of these apply to you, consult an attorney, make sure your application reflects this new information, and submit evidence that this change in your situation does not impact your DACA eligibility (for example, the court disposition regarding a criminal case or an immigration judge’s order closing your case).

More information

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