Tracker

On this page, based on feedback from my readers (if you want to contribute to this effort and help fellow DREAMers, please submit an update of your application), I will provide latest updates on how the applications are moving through the USCIS.  Please remember that not all lock boxes and processing centers will work at the same pace.  Even applications mailed the same day maybe processed slightly differently depending on how they end up in the USCIS offices.  Applications from states with large number of immigrants should expect longer processing times.  There are also reports that all things being equal, still, some applications are taking a lot longer.  There are also reports that applicants who did not submit a perfect application are being issued RFE (an official notice from the USCIS called the request for evidence in which if the officer is not satisfied with a piece of evidence more documents need to be provided); this can delay the process.
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November 2014:  President Obama has extended DACA for DREAMers of all ages.

Feb 2014: It is now clear that over half a million DREAMers have been DACA approved. The great news is that from about 640K applications, just 2.5% cases are being rejected. In other words, if you can correctly fill the application along with all the documents and fees, and you meet all the basic requirements, the USCIS is basically rubber-stamping the approvals. Such high approvals are unknown for any other types of immigrant petitions. In fact, now that CIR is dead at least until after the mid term elections, anyone who has not yet filed must do so without delay.
September 2013:  The data in the latest report out this month actually provides a snapshot of the DACA program over a one year period and it is all good news. While a lot less DREAMers applied, out of the almost 600,000 applications sent to USCIS, just about 10,000 of them were denied. That is is less than 2% denial rate. In other words, there is every reason for you to apply if you have not done so yet, because it is very obvious that CIR is absolutely dead for the time being and may not revive at least until 2015 (assuming a very unlikely scenario of Democrats capturing the House of Representatives) but more like 2017 (based on the assumption that Democrats capture the White House and both houses of Congress). There is only a very remote possibility that GOP might agree to some kind of legal status for all undocumented immigrants but that would most likely be rejected by Democrats.
August 2013:  The number of applications dropped to an all time low in one year history of DACA. What is surprising is that applicants are still applying, which is the right thing to do but if they had done so an year earlier, they would have enjoyed the advantages for a lot longer.  Also rejections/denials were at record high as well and it is also important to note that many applicants have been waiting for approval now for almost a year.  Such delays are fairly common in other immigration petitions but are very frustrating those DREAMers who were hoping for quick turnaround and such a long wait deprives them of the opportunity to work legally, even though DACA gives no legal status.  If the DACA program dies with President Obama's presidency and CIR is not approved, their duration of legal presence is curtailed by a year.

July 2013:  As expected, the number of applicants keep falling rapidly.  The lowest number so far applied in this month.  It is understood that DREAMers are waiting to see if CIR will pass and experts expect that when immigration reform dies in the House of Representatives (at this point legal scholars do not anticipate anything to pass and even the KIDS Act may die due to Democratic and DREAMer resistance), there would be a surge in applications.  It is also clear that USCIS is clearing up the backlog, though, approvals for lower in June and rejection at an all time high.  It is believed that right now the applications are simply stuck for a variety of reasons and until those police reports are received from towns all over the country or background searches completed or crime records verified, these applications will remain pending.

June 2013:  As expected number of applications is falling as more potential applicants wait for CIR process to move forward.  At this point we can say that almost everyone who is applying is being approved even those DREAMers who lied under oath during DACA interviews, applicants with fraudulent documents, and those with more than three misdemeanors.  In other words, if your application is complete but is taking longer than expected, just relax because you will eventually be approved.  USCIS is practically not investigating anything and just rubber stamping applications but some applicants can get stuck in the pipeline due to their broken processes, lack of staff, low motivation among employees, overwork, lack of resources, and reliance on outside agencies to provide information.  This is no different than what applicants for other immigration applications are experiencing.  Last month, a few more applications were rejected but that was expected.  The agency also approved the highest number of applications in a month for the whole program.

May 2013:  The data released by the USCIS for the period ending April 30th shows that DREAMers are heading my advice to get DACA approved if possible to get a head start on RPI Immigration Visa.  That is why the pace looks pretty good so late into the program.  For the reasons I gave for the high number of rejections and denials in April, that number is also high, simply because the agency now has exhausted all means of approving an application.  It seems that due to more than 100,000 applications under review and new ones coming in, it will take some time for many approvals to come, particularly for those who have been 6-9 months on hold.  I have received reports of in-person interviews for some DACA applicants (these were not part of the program initially but USCIS can do whatever it wants if it suspects fraud or as part of quality control) and if an application has not been approved for more than six months in a straightforward situation, chances are that you might be in trouble.

April 2013:  The latest stats suggest that number of applications is falling as anyone who wanted to apply has already applied and others wait for CIR process to play out.  The other number that has changed is the number of outstanding applications as more cases are cleared and new applications decline.  Another shocking number to note is a huge jump is number of denials, more in one month than all the previous months combined.  The explanation offered is that cases that are likely to be denied often receive more scrutiny because of their complexities, the applicants maybe issued a RFE, given additional time to respond to it, and then the submitted evidence is reviewed.  This process takes a lot of time and that is why a lot of cases were rejected.  It is also likely that many applicants who were issued RFEs never followed up and after waiting for a response, USCIS simply rejected them.


March 2013:  According to USCIS statistics released for the period ending March 14, there is no major change in pace from last month.  To date about half a million DREAMers have applied for DACA and about a quarter million have been approved so far. Some applicants are reporting that their cases have been transferred to a local/field office and some approvals are starting to happen after that step.


February 2013:  It looks like the process is humming along at the same pace as January.  The good news is that since most DREAMers applied early on, the number of applicants dropped precipitously during December and January, now the number of applications under review is down to just 120K.  Hopefully this should speed up the process but February is a shorter month and offices were closed for President's Day and some offices were also closed due to the NEMO snowstorm in the Northeast.   As of February 14, 2013, about 200,000 DREAMers have been approved for DACA, and while this number is much smaller than what immigration activists were hoping for, it seems that most of them are now adopting a wait-and-see attitude to see how the CIR bill weaves its way through Congress.  If all goes according to plan, the USCIS should start accepting application for legalization by the end of 2013.


January 2013:  The process of approval further slowed down even though the number of application dropped by half (it appears that most applicants applied as soon as the program was announced and some sat on the fence till the reelection of the President and then applied in Nov/Dec '12).  It is understandable that December is a slow month for the country as Federal Government employees cannot carryover their vacation time into a new year indefinitely so many choose to take time off.  Plus, there are regularly scheduled holidays around Christmas and New Year both of which fell in such a way that by taking just a day of vacation time you could turn it into a 4-day weekend.

December 2012:  Things have gotten worse for approval of applications due to the rush of applicants after the reelection of President Obama.  The holiday season is always a slow time because many people take vacations.  

November 2012:  With the re-election of President Barack Obama, DREAMers who were uncertain about applying for DACA have been filing their applications.  The approval process is expected to slow down even further, but the good news is that at least till January 2017, this program will continue, in case no other immigration reform is implementedAccording to latest statistics, during the three month period ending Nov 15, 2012, approximately 309,000 people had applied and over 50,000 had been approved; the rest were still being processed.  So the process has slowed but it is still chugging along.  In other words, if you are eligible, better get in line.


October 2012:  The number of applications has been below expectations but is still slowing down the process.  The USCIS is now predicting that it will take 4-6 months to issue a decision.  It means that those DREAMers who did have not applied by September 2012 will not get their decisions and that can be a problem if Mitt Romney gets elected as president because he has promised to shut down the DACA program.

DACA approval and issue of work permits:  First round of approvals issued in record time starting September 10, 2012.  Text messages have been sent immediately to approved applicants.  Typically, the USCIS has about 90 days to issue an EAD, but it is expected that they should come earlier than that.  I am being told by DREAMers that some of them have already been issued I-765 work authorization approvals and their cards have arrived.  At this time, the total time after biometric appointment to approval is less than two weeks.  After that they can line up at the Social Security office to apply for a SSN and card, which typically takes only a week or two.

Biometric appointments:  Those who submitted applications early enough have received fingerprinting appointments within two weeks of submission.  Appointments are under one month from date of the letter. Generally speaking, this is the fastest step in the process, because there are several such facilities all over the country, and it is a straightforward process (checkin at the reception, fill a simple form, get fingerprinted, and leave).

Application receipts/acknowledgements:  Those who submitted applications seem to be receiving USCIS receipt confirmation within a week or so.  The appointment for biometrics arrives separately fairly soon.  Incomplete applications are being returned almost immediately.

Applications accepted starting:  August 15, 2012