If your work permit will expire by March 5, 2018, you should file a DACA renewal immediately. On September 5, 2017, President Trump announced that he is phasing out DACA. While we are pressuring Congress to pass legislation that protects DREAMers, we are also helping our clients protect their legal status. Below, Immigration Attorney Andres Mejer discusses the basics of DACA renewal.

Why Is It Important to Renew My DACA Status Now?

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will stop accepting DACA renewals on October 5, 2017. If USCIS does not receive your DACA renewal by October 5, 2017, your legal immigration status will end when your existing permit expires. This might lead to severe consequences, such as loss of your job, driver’s license, and the risk of deportation.

You should renew your DACA status immediately if:

  • Your current permit expires on or before March 5, 2018,
  • You have not left the United States since August 15, 2012 without advance parole,
  • You’ve continuously lived in the United States since USCIS approved your DACA application, and
  • You do not have a felony, serious misdemeanor, or three or more misdemeanor convictions.

Many DACA permits will expire in 2017 and 2018. According to USCIS, between August 2017 and December 2017, 201,678 DACA permits will expire. Another 275,344 DACA permits expire in 2018. However, as of September 5, 2017, very few DACA recipients have filed renewals.

If you are unsure whether you qualify for renewal, contact an immigration lawyer immediately. Because time is of the essence, any delay might result in the rejection of your renewal paperwork.

How Do I File a DACA Renewal?

To file a DACA renewal, you must submit a series of forms, including a fully completed:

  • Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (Form I-821D),
  • Application for Employment Authorization (Form I-765),Daca renewal
  • Form I-765 Worksheet,
  • A copy of the front and back of your current employment authorization,
  • Two identical passport photos,
  • Proof you have been in the U.S. since your prior petition was filed, and
  • Additionally, you must pay a $495 filing fee by either check or money order.

Unlike an initial DACA application, young immigrants have to attach much less paperwork to a DACA renewal. However, USCIS might request additional information or contact your school, employer, or other institutions if they have questions about your application.

Tips for a Successful DACA Renewal

Unless Congress passes new DACA or DREAM legislation, this is your last chance to renew your DACA permit. If you make even one mistake, USCIS might reject your renewal application. It’s vital that you comply with USCIS’ requirements and send everything in on time.

Make Sure You Fully Complete Your Renewal Forms

To avoid USCIS rejecting your DACA renewal, Your renewal paperwork must fully disclose your:

  • Contact and identifying information,
  • History of deportation proceedings (if applicable),
  • Travel history since your last DACA application,
  • Education,
  • Military service,
  • Criminal history, and
  • Income information.

If you need help completing these forms, or are unsure whether you must disclose something, contact an immigration lawyer right away.

USCIS Will Reject Your DACA Renewal If You Use Outdated forms

If you are renewing your DACA application, make sure you’re using the most up to date forms. USCIS will automatically reject your DACA renewal if you use old forms. While an immigration lawyer will ensure that your DACA application is properly completed on the right forms, you can also get current forms on USCIS’ website.

You Must Send Your Renewal to the Correct DACA Lockbox

If you live in New Jersey, you must send your application to a “DACA lockbox facility” in Chicago. The mailing address will vary, depending on whether you are sending your DACA renewal by U.S. Mail or through an expedited courier service (like UPS or FedEx).

U.S. Mail USCIS Chicago Lockbox Facility
P.O. Box 5757
Chicago, IL 60680-5757
Courier Service USCIS Chicago Lockbox Facility
Attn: DACA
131 S. Dearborn – 3rdFloor
Chicago, IL 60603-5517

Remember, your application must be accepted by October 5, 2017. Since your renewal paperwork must travel a significant distance, make sure you send your DACA paperwork in well before the October 5 deadline. If you live outside of New Jersey, you can find your lockbox location on USCIS’ website.

Consult With an Immigration Lawyer

These are uncertain times for all immigrants. We strongly encourage all DACA recipients to contact an experienced immigration lawyer. We can help you prepare for the phasing out of DACA and build customized legal strategies that protect you and your loved ones.

If you have new criminal convictions or have an open immigration case, or left the country without advance parole, you should contact an immigration lawyer immediately. Without legal assistance, you might put yourself at risk of deportation.

Speak With an Immigration Lawyer About DACA Renewal

At Andres Mejer Law, we will help you file a DACA renewal and craft a comprehensive immigration strategy.  We proudly serve our immigrant neighbors throughout New Jersey. Contact us for a confidential evaluation today.