Time flies! It seems like only yesterday we were discussing the ‘new’ Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) process and the pros and cons of applying (earlier posts on DACA can be found here, here and here). We are approaching the two-year anniversary of the introduction of DACA, which means those applicants who sought this benefit at the earliest possible moment will soon face the expiration of their DACA grant and employment authorization.
Today, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) released initial guidance regarding the renewal process for those applicants who have already been granted DACA, confirming:
“If your previous period of deferred action expires before you receive a renewal of deferred action under DACA, you will accrue unlawful presence and will not be authorized to work for any time between the periods of deferred action. For this reason, USCIS encourages you to submit your request for renewal 120 days before your current period of deferred action under DACA expires.”
The guidance goes on to state that DACA renewal applicants must submit evidence demonstrating satisfaction of the same criteria as before, namely that he or she:
- Was under the age of 31 as of June 15, 2012;
- Came to the United States before reaching his or her 16th birthday and established residence at that time;
- Has continuously resided in the United States since June 15, 2007, up to the present time;
- Did not depart the United States on or after August 15, 2012 without advance parole;
- Was present in the United States on June 15, 2012, and at the time of making his or her request;
- Entered without inspection before June 15, 2012, or his or her lawful immigration status expired as of June 15, 2012;
- Has graduated or obtained a certificate of completion from a high school, has obtained a general educational development certificate, is an honorably discharged veteran of the Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the United States; or was in school at the time he or she requested DACA from ICE and: 1) has successfully completed an education, literacy, or career training program (including vocational training) and obtained employment, 2) is currently enrolled in high school, postsecondary school or a new/different education, literacy or career training program, or 3) has made substantial, measurable progress toward completing an education, literacy, or career training program; and,
- Has not been convicted of a felony, significant misdemeanor, three or more other misdemeanors, and does not otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety.
Given that the DACA process first became available in August 2012 and most grants of DACA were not issued until several months after filing, most applicants are still several months away from the suggested 120-day mark. There is a good chance that ICE may issue updated guidance and potentially a new form specifically for renewals in the coming months, so please watch this space for further updates. In the meantime, if you are unsure whether you would qualify for a DACA renewal, please seek professional immigration counsel to ensure your application still meets eligibility criteria. Should you wish to review your options, we invite you to contact us at email@example.com or call our office at 1-800-VISA LAW.