Preparation for DACA renewal

If you were one of those prompt DREAMers who filed for DACA as soon as the program was launched in fall of 2012, it is time for renewing not just the deferral on deportations but also the work permit (in case you planned on working the last time or plan to work going forward).  As is always the case with immigration petitions, renewals are simpler and faster, especially if you have stayed away from crimes.  Since the actual renewal process has not started yet (expected to start around Memorial Day, 2014), here are some important details that you need to know so that when you are four months away from the expiration of your EAD or USCIS Form I-766, you can apply to renew DACA and employment authorization card.

  1. You will need to file the same forms as last time: USCIS Form I-765, I-821D, and I765WS.  They will be updated in May 2014 and will include a renewal check box and additional questions.
  2. You will have to pay the fee again, so start saving.
  3. Unless you have committed a crime (or deportation proceedings are underway -- yes, even DACA approved DREAMers can be deported for deportable offenses), there is no need to submit any additional supporting evidence (unless there is a RFE and you are asked to submit evidence).  However, if you married in the meantime and legally changed your name, this will be your chance to update that information by providing evidence of your marriage and legal name change.
  4. Remember that your valid Social Security number is yours to keep for the rest of your life (the number will never change whether you become a citizen some day or return to your native country forever).  It is to be noted, though, that just having a genuine SSN does not mean that you can work in the United States.  Unless you become a permanent resident or citizen, you can use that SS# to work only with DHS authorization, meaning a work permitWorking without authorization is against US laws and while there are fewer consequences for unauthorized work for undocumented aliens, those of you who have chosen to provide all your biographic information along with fingerprints to the United States authorities need to be more careful working illegally.  You are more likely to be caught now and the punishment is going to be a lot more severe.
  5. While many DREAMers experienced massive delays in adjudication of their initial DACA approvals, the USCIS is promising to renew your papers in less than 120 days.  If there is a delay at their end, they will send you a temporary authorization so that you can continue to work legally and be protected from deportation.

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