By Attorney Farhad Sethna © 2014
All DACA Applicants – please note:
The USCIS published a new DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) form I-821B. (The form version is dated June 4, 2014). That form is to be used effective June 5, 2014 for any and all DACA applications- whether initial or renewal application- filed with the USCIS on or after that date. If an application is postmarked on June 5, 2014, then that application must be on the new form, else it will be rejected.
What are some of the highlights of this RENEWAL process?
For initial applications the same level of proof will be required- that is, physical presence, enrollment in school, lack of criminal record, and prior or ongoing immigration history, if any.
For DACA renewal applications, the process is much easier. All the USCIS is requiring is:
• The form I-821B;
• The filing fee for the employment authorization application and biometrics (currently $ 465);
• Any documentation of any new criminal conviction or ongoing or new immigration prosecution.
According to the USCIS website, DACA renewals need to show or affirm very minimal requirements:
- Continue to meet the initial DACA criteria;
- Did not depart the United States on or after Aug. 15, 2012, or if they did, using advance parole;
- Continuously resided in the United States since the last approved DACA request;
- Have no disqualifying criminal convictions, defined by the USCIS for DACA applicants as being convicted of a felony, a significant misdemeanor or three or more misdemeanors; and
- Do not otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety.
There is no need to submit any new or updated evidence regarding enrollment in any educational program, attainment of a high school diploma or GED equivalent, or any other background, residence or employment information. There is no need to even show that the applicant sought employment and has been employed simply because the applicant was issued an employment card through the DACA process. The USCIS will conduct a background check as it did when issuing the initial DACA.
How early before the expiration of current DACA approval must a renewal application be filed?
Under the current USCIS rules, a renewal application for an EAD may be filed only 120 days before the EAD. Therefore, an individual seeking DACA renewal can apply, at the most, 120 days before his or her DACA approval expires. The USCIS is very adamant that individuals apply as early as possible, ie, at the 120th day before the EAD expires, rather than later, because of the volume of applications expected to be received and processed. Do remember that DACA applications are processed in addition to all the other EAD applications the USCIS already needs to process. Therefore, the volume is quite heavy, and DACA applications weight even heavier on the USCIS.
Is there any need to submit tax returns, proof of education, or any other documentation with the DACA renewal request?
The USCIS is emphatic that nothing else need to be submitted with the DACA other than any evidence of any criminal convictions or traffic violations which might make the applicant ineligible for DACA. Also, if the applicant has any ongoing immigration proceedings such as removal, asylum or any other applications, information regarding those ongoing proceedings should also be submitted. Other than that, the USCIS needs only the form, and the application fee.
What is an individual misses the expiration date of his or her DACA approval?
If an individual fails to apply for renewal before the expiration of his or her DACA, that individual can apply within one-year of the expiration as a renewal. The same rules as set forth above will apply.
If however, the individual receives DACA, fails to apply for a renewal and more than one-year has passed after the expiration of his or her previous DACA, that individual will have to file a DACA application as a new applicant meaning all of the necessary initial proof of eligibility for DACA status will have to be submitted once again.
Can a DREAMER who never applied for DACA apply now or is it too late?
No, it is not too late to apply for DACA. The filing fee is the same as for a renewal application – currently $ 465. The USCIS will also conduct background checks on all DACA applicants, whether initial or renewal. Maybe you or someone you know meets the DACA criteria (see other articles on DACA on this blog) but never applied for DACA. If so, be sure to obtain qualified legal assistance to evaluate your case and file a DACA application!
Be sure to file the new application form, and if it’s a renewal, nothing else need be submitted other than as explained above.
Good luck to all DACA initial applicants and renewal applicants! Make the United States proud!
Copyright, Farhad Sethna, Attorney, 2014
About the author: Attorney Farhad Sethna has practiced law for over 20 years. Since 1996, he has been an adjunct professor of Immigration Law at the University of Akron, School of Law, in Akron, Ohio. He is a frequent speaker at Continuing Legal Education and professional development seminars on various immigration-related topics. His practice is limited to immigration and small business. With offices in Cuyahoga Falls, Akron and Dover, Ohio, Attorney Sethna represents clients in all types of immigration cases. Our number is: (330)-384-8000. Please send your general immigration questions to AttorneySethna@immigration-america.com. We will try to answer as many questions as possible.
This is only general legal information. Please consult a qualified immigration attorney for advice on your specific case.