Under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, individuals must renew their DACA request every two years. In light of the fact that the program was originally announced on June 15, 2012, many DACA recipients are now quickly approaching their expiration dates. Thus, it is critical that all current DACA recipients start preparing now for the renewal process. According to the most recent USCIS guidance, the method for renewal currently depends on how the original DACA petition was processed.
If your original Deferred Action request was submitted directly to USCIS on or after August 15, 2012
This rule will apply to the overwhelming majority of DACA recipients. According to USCIS, DACA renewals will be considered on a case-by-case basis and are available even if the applicant has turned 31 since your original approval. The process for renewal, however, has not yet been announced, but USCIS plans to do so in late May 2014, in coordination with the revision of the immigration forms to allow for both new applications and renewals. This post will be updated as new information becomes available.
Although information is scarce, DACA renewal applicants will have to prove that that they continue to be eligible for the program. This will likely include proving the completion of the educational requirement or continuing to make satisfactory progress towards completion, continuous presence in the United States since the original approval, continuing proof of no disqualifying crimes, and continuing proof of no threat to national security or public safety.
USCIS has also clearly stated that DACA renewals must be submitted on the revised forms that will be released soon, not the current forms. No DACA renewals will be accepted until the new forms are released. In addition, renewals should be completed and submitted 120 days before the expiration of the current period of Deferred Action.
If your original Deferred Action request was granted by ICE between June 15, 2012 and August 15, 2012 before the USCIS process was established
If you received Deferred Action directly from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) at any point between June 15, 2012 and August 15, 2012, the renewal rules are different. For those individuals, renewals should be submitted on existing forms 120 days before the expiration of the current period of Deferred Action. If you submitted your DACA request directly to USCIS on or after August 15, 2012, this process does not apply to you.
It is critical to file your Deferred Action renewal 120 days before the current period expires to give USCIS sufficient time to process the application. Failure to submit a renewal in time may result in the accrual of unlawful presence for any time you are not in a valid Deferred Action period. In addition, you may not lawfully work if your employment authorization document (EAD) has expired.