Most entries below contain actual legal discussions of events directly related to Filipinos in or immigrating to the United States.
Remember- These writings are provided for general information only and do not constitute legal advice, nor do they create any attorney-client relationship. Each person's needs and requirements are different and require a personal evaluation to determine the proper legal course of action.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

DACA Renewal Instructions Released

USCIS has posted its first guidance on DACA renewals, found here, and probably copied to websites all over the internet.  DACA, or Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, grants employment authorization and protection from removal for those who qualify for the benefit.

Several interesting items to note if you are renewing DACA granted by USCIS (slightly different renewal rules apply if DACA initially granted by ICE):

You MUST use the new form for renewals, and it does not yet exist.  A draft of the new I-821D was released for comments on December 8, 2013.  After review of the comments, a new, modified draft of the form (7 pages) and instructions (14 pages) was issued last week on April 9th.  The final version will not be available until the end of May, 2014.

You cannot file more than 150 days before your current DACA expiration.  My advice is to file as early as possible for the best chance of getting your new work authorization before your old card expires.  USCIS believes it can issue new work authorizations within five months of filing.  Historically, sometimes they do, sometimes they don't.  With TPS, a very similar program, USCIS has moved to the practice of automatically extending the current work authorization for an additional six months past the card's expiration date.  But since the DACA renewals will be spread out over a longer time period than allowed for TPS renewals, hopefully USCIS can keep card issuance within the five month window.

Less evidence will be required for renewals then you submitted with the initial application.  This is very useful.  For DACA renewal, NONE of the evidence sent with the original application needs to be resubmitted.  While this may just seem to be common sense, it is not the normal practice of USCIS when renewing some other immigration benefits.

No evidence required of continued enrollment, even if your initial DACA was based on a GED program (or similar) enrollment.  Neither the form or the instructions indicate any evidence of continued enrollment or successful program completion will be required for DACA renewals.  However, there is always a chance this might change when the final instructions are released.

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