It is almost time for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) renewal. On June 15, 2012, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issued a memorandum that said certain foreign nationals can apply for deferred action through the DACA process.
DACA is not an immigration status. However, it does give successful applicants permission to remain in the U.S. and apply for employment authorization. DACA was implemented to help foreign nationals who came to the U.S. as children.
With renewal time nearing, it is important for individuals who currently have DACA to begin preparation. The period for renewal could be as short as one month and may also depend on when your DACA was approved. The following is a short list of Do's and Don'ts associated with DACA preparation:
- Save money. The price is still up in the air, but it is likely that applicants will pay the same $465 that was required when they first renewed their DACA and work permits.
- Stay in close contact with your attorney. Your attorney is the first person you should consult with on matters such as this. Your attorney will be able to advise you on the most current timelines and requirements.
- Reach out to your attorney if you have been arrested for or convicted of a crime since your DACA was approved. It is vital that your attorney is aware of any arrests or convictions in order to determine whether you are eligible to renew your DACA. It is not advised to wait until the last minute to inform your attorney about these things.
- Reach out to your attorney if your education status has changed. These types of changes include dropping out of school, graduating, or changing programs. A change in your education status might affect DACA eligibility.
- Reach out to your attorney for assistance in filing a DACA renewal. It is not advised to try to file yourself. As you are already well aware, immigration agencies expect full and complete applications. It seems unjust, but even a small mistake on your application could lead to a denied request.
- Do not pay an attorney or notario to do anything related to your renewal just yet. It is true that an extension of DACA has been announced, but the official form and complete process is yet to be presented. If an attorney or notario tries to charge you for something related to an unpublished process, you should be concerned. It is always best to work with experienced and respected legal professionals.
- Do not drop out of school. You may think this is an obvious suggestion, but there are DACA individuals who quit school before graduating. If you have dropped out of school, it is in your best interest to re-enroll as soon as possible. Dropping out of school will most likely make you ineligible for DACA renewal.
- Do not file anything right now. Really, the only thing that has been confirmed is that DACA will be extended. While it may be tempting to begin the process ahead of any finalizations, it may prove futile. A premature filing will likely be rejected, but your fees may not be returned. You also run the risk of being denied because you are technically still in status.
If you have questions about DACA or your status, contact my office. My associates and I have many years of immigration experience. We look forward to hearing from you.