DACA application and renewal process

First of all, it is important to understand that starting June 5, 2014, it does not matter if you are applying for the very first time or renewing your previously approved deferred action for childhood arrival (DACA) status, the process is exactly the same.  Everyone has to complete the same forms (those renewing will need to provide less evidence and details), pay the same fee, and go through the same process of fingerprinting and background check (and in rare cases, an interview).  While I strongly encourage you to use a qualified immigration lawyer (this is too serious an issue to be done by amateurs like you), if you are confident with your legal English language ability and have high level of confidence in completing legal forms, then you can do it yourself with the help of completed sample example forms provided on this website.  Remember that anything on this website is not legal help and you are responsible for the huge risk you are taking by using information on the Internet to complete such an important step in your life:

What forms to fill?  Basically, you will complete three forms, attach a fee of $465 and photos, and mail the packet to the USCIS at least 4 months or 120 days prior to the expiration of your approval (first time applicants can file any time).  Here are sample completed forms for your reference (each link will open in a new window for your convenience):

USCIS Form I-821D Consideration of deferred action for childhood arrivals

USCIS Form I-765 Application for employment authorization

USCIS Form I-765WS worksheet

New, updated, latest USCIS Form I-821D for DACA renewal, application

Starting June 2014, all DREAMers who are applying for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) for the very first time or renewing their previously approved status must file the form dated June 4, 2014, in addition to USCIS Form I-765 and Form I-765WS if employment authorization is also desired.  While it is strongly recommended that you use a qualified immigration attorney to do the paperwork for you, if you fluent in legal English, have experience completing legal forms, and are willing to take the risk, then, you can also file it yourself.  The help given on this page is obviously not legal advice and you are using it at your own risk, but follow the links below to complete the whole application section by section (each link will open in a new window for convenience).

Part 1: Information about you

Part 1: Removal proceedings information

Part 1: Other information about you

Part 1: Processing information

Part 2: Residence information

Part 2: Travel information

Part 3: Initial requests only

Part 3:  Education information

Part 3: Military service information

Part 4: Criminal, national security, and public safety information

Part 5, 6, and 7: Statement, certification, signature of requestor, interpreter, or preparer

Part 8: Additional information

USCIS Form I-821D Part 8 Additional Information

Like any other USCIS Form, this form too provides a way for applicants to provide additional information.  So I have given two hypothetical examples and it shows you how to fill this section.  You don't have to fill this section if there is nothing additional to report.

In Part 1, other names used, our hypothetical candidate not only was known Fred, but occasionally also used the name Freddie.  So the way to provide that information is that in item 3.a page number, we write down the page number on which 'other names used' topic appears.  That would be page 2.  We can also see that it is part 1 of the form so we write 1 in the corresponding box.  And since we are dealing with his given name, which is item 14b, that is what we write in Item number.  In 3d, you simply write down the additional piece of information.

Let us take yet another example of providing additional information to the USCIS.  Let us say that our example applicant also took three trips outside the US but there was space on page 3 for only two trips.  So we indicated the page number, and since we are dealing with part 2 of the form, we write 2 in box 4.b.  The departure information is item number 7 and we write that down.  In 4.d. we simply use the same format and provide the additional information.

USCIS Form I-821D Part 5

Since you are completing this application yourself, you must check box 1a.  Only an interpreter will check box 1b.

You must also sign and date in 2a and 2b as the requestor. 

In 3, 4, and 5, provide your contact information like a daytime phone number, a mobile number, and email address so that USCIS can contact you (they rarely call and you should always make sure that you are not dealing with crooks who impersonate immigration agents) but they are known to send text messages about the status of your application.

Part 6 and 7 will be completed by interpreters and preparers and DIY DREAMers can leave it blank.

uscis i-821-d requestor

USCIS Form I-821D Criminal, National Security, Public Safety Information

Ideally, the answers to all questions from 1-7 should be no.  If there is even one Yes, please do not file it yourself, and instead use an attorney.  In the example below, though, I have marked Yes for question #1 assuming that the DREAMer only had a misdemeanor and can furnish all the paperwork.  Remember that just because you have a criminal background it does not mean that you will not be approved because many DREAMers with criminal backgrounds have been approved; you just have to be prepared for the worst and provide the information in the right format.

uscis form i-821d for daca background check
ins daca criminal history

USCIS Form I-821D Military Service Information

It is important to point out that an alien illegally in the United States will be breaking US law if she or he joins the military by making a false declaration about her or his immigration status (undocumented aliens are not allowed to work for the armed forces).  Accordingly, for those DREAMers who are applying on their own for DACA, the answer to question #9 should be No.  If it is yes, please discuss your case with an attorney.  DO NOT file the paperwork yourself as this will open a can of worms.

military service information in uscis i821d by illegal immigrant dreamer applicant for daca

USCIS Form I-821D Education Information

6.  If you have already graduated, then write 'graduated from high school.'  If you still a high school student, write 'currently in school.'  If you received a GED, then write down 'received a general educational development (GED) certificate.  If you have another type of certificate from the state, write down 'received XYZ from the State of AB.'

7.  Simply mention the name of your school, city, and state.

8.  If you already graduated or received a certificate, write down the date from your diploma.  If still in school, write down the date of last attendance, which can even be today's date if you are in school.

Education information section on uscis form i-821d for childhood arrivals under dream act

USCIS Form I821D Part 3 For Initial Requests Only

This section need not be completed by DREAMers who are applying for renewal.  However, if you are applying for the very first time, you must affirm that when you first moved to the United States before your 16th birthday (merely saying Yes to question 1 is not enough; you will need to provide solid evidence of being in the US).

In 2, enter your date when you moved to the US to live here (whether legally or illegally).

In 3, enter the name of the airport if you arrived by air.  If you crossed the border illegally, write down the name of the place.

Image of part 3 initial requests only question on uscis form i821d
In question #4, pick 'no lawful status' if you crossed the border illegally.  Choose 'status expired', if you came with a valid visa and cleared immigration at an airport or land crossing but then never left so that you were out of status on 06/15/2012 (if you were in status on this date and later on your status expired, you are not eligible for DACA), and finally choose parole expired, if you had some kind of a parole status but it expired.

5a.  If you entered the United States legally, meaning that you met an immigration officer (also called as 'inspected') either at an airport or land crossing, you must have filled and then received an arrival-departure record in form of an I-94, I-94W or I-95.  If so, check Yes.  If you do not know, ask people with whom you came because it is very important to find out if you entered the US legally or illegally because it has huge consequences on your immigration journey (typically, aliens who entered the country legally but are now undocumented can adjust their status in the US while those who entered without inspection must leave the US to get a green card).

5b. If you have the card with you, enter the number here.  You can also find out the information in some cases here in case you lost your card (though not old data is there).  If not, just leave it blank.

5c.  If you have the card, it will also show the date on which you were authorized to stay in the US.  If you lost the card, then simply leave it blank.

Information about immigration status and i-94 for form i821d for daca

USCIS Form I-821D Travel Information

Ideally, you should have stayed continuously in the United States since June 15, 2007, but the Obama Administration is forgiving short absences if they were for a good cause (e.g. visiting ill family members, funerals, etc.).  You will need to provide those details in this section.

If you are a DACA approved DREAMer and applying for renewal, then you are allowed to travel using advanced parole, and this is the place to provide details of your trip.  For renewal, you only need to provide trips after being approved previously.  Also, if you have a valid DACA approval but left the US without advanced parole, you must consult an attorney before filing for renewal because you may have violated terms of your approval and could be rejected.

6, 7 (a, b, c):  In this example, the applicant is DACA approved and took three trips (the third trip must be listed in part 8) using AP.  Just enter the date of departure and arrival and a brief reason for the trip.  Our example DREAMer attended a funeral in Honduras and took two business trips, one to attend a meeting with a customer and another to participate in a conference.

8.  If your answer is no to the question about leaving the United States without an advanced parole approval, you must consult a lawyer and not file an application on your own.

9 (a, b, c):  Simply enter your passport details here.

10.  If you have had a border crossing card, enter the number in the box.

Image of travel information section of form i-821-d for daca renewal

USCIS I-821D Part 2 Residence and Travel Information

Before you go any further you will have to check the box affirming that you have been continuously residing in the US since June 15, 2007 up to the present time (this is an essential requirement for DACA approval).  You not only have to check Yes to this question, you also have to provide reliable evidence of your physical presence before 06/15/07.  If you cannot prove it with solid evidence, it is best not to apply and waste your time and money because even if you were here but do not have the evidence, your application will be rejected.

2, 3, 4, 5 (a, b, c, d, e):  Enter the date and address where you currently live.  If you have lived elsewhere, enter it below.  If you are renewing, simply enter the information after you were approved for DACA.

Image of residence and travel information section of uscis i821d form for dreamers to apply for daca renewal

DACA USCIS I-821D form processing information

15. Ethnicity:  You are either a Hispanic or not.  So just check the right box.

16.  Race.  Don't make it too complicated and pick the right one.  You can have more fun with this question when you complete your census form.  These are the categories law enforcement uses to identify criminals and suspects and this information will be used for that purpose.

17. Height: Select the right number from the pull down menu.

18.  Simply enter the weight in pounds.  If you are less than 100, enter zero in the first box.

19. Simply pick your closest eye color and this too is for identification purposes.

20.  Hair color selected should be the natural color you have.  Do not write the color you have now because you dyed your hair.

Image of USCIS Form I-821-d for dreamers with daca applications

USCIS Form I-821D Part 1 Other Information

6. Alien registration number or A-number is only available to DACA approved DREAMers or those with other pending immigration petitions (e.g. you maybe in the US illegally but might have a pending green card application and that would give you a valid A# and you should write it down in the space provided).

7. US Social Security Number:  If you received a valid SSN at any point either after DACA approval or prior (for whatever legal status you have), enter it here.  DO NOT write down your fake/fraudulent/stolen/made-up SS# (or even if someone is letting you use their valid number). 

8. Enter the DOB exactly as it appears on your passport and/or birth certificate.

9.  Gender: Check the appropriate box.

10a.  Write down the place of birth from your birth certificate.

10b. Country of birth regardless of the passport that you currently have.

11.  Current country of residence.  There is only correct answer and that is USA.  Even if you are living illegally in the United States (or DACA approved DREAMers who have no legal status, only a deferral of deportation for two years), for the purpose of this question, you must say the United States of America, because that is where your primary residence is.

12.  Country of citizenship or nationality is the one whose passport you carry.  If you have more than one nationalities, mention the one that you would like to use in the future or have valid passport.

13. Marital status: Check the correct box.

14.  Other names used:  If you had a maiden name because you are now married, you must enter it here.  If you have used nicknames, for example, our hypothetical man in this case, Fernando Miguel, tried to fit in by using names like Fred or Mike, they should also be entered, as long as they were used widely (if the name was merely used within your family, there is no reason to disclose it).

Image of other personal information on ins form i-821-d uscis for daca dreamers

USCIS Form I821D Removal Proceedings Information

If you must say yes to question 5 on Part 1 of USCIS Form I-821D for initial application or renewal request for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, I strongly recommend that you complete this form with the help of a competent immigration attorney.  DO NOT attempt this yourself because it could cause a lot of complications if you make a mistake.  That is why for all of you DIY DREAMers I have only shown the answer as No.

Image of page 1 of daca application renewal form about removal deportation

USCIS Form I-821D Information About You

If this is the first time you are applying for DACA, please check the Initial Request box (1).  If you were already approved for DACA and have a valid approval on the day you are applying (ideally, you should have applied at least 120 days ahead before expiration because if you apply later, chances are that you will not receive a renewal before the expiration and during the course of that period, you will yet again be out of status and can not only be deported but you will also no longer have authorization to work legally because your valid Social Security number alone is not sufficient for employment; you must also have a valid employment authorization from DHS), check the Renewal Request box (2).  In the box below, indicate the date the DACA approval is expiring and it should be the same as indicated on your approval letter and/or EAD card.

Full legal name (3 a, b, c):  Simply write the name as it appears on your passport or other identification document that you plan to use.

US mailing address (4 a, b, c, d, e):  Simply put the address where you receive your mail and hopefully it is the same as the address at which you live, though, technically it can be different.

Image of about you information in form uscis i821d for daca applicant dreamers