Persons who received deferred action for certain childhood arrivals (DACA) from USCIS almost two years ago are coming up for renewal of their DACA status and Employment Authorization Document (EAD). To date USCIS has not published clear procedures on how to apply for extension of DACA and employment authorization.
However, on April 9, 2014, USCIS published an Update for DACA Renewals on its website which advises that the current Form I-821D cannot be used to request renewal of DACA, but that USCIS plans to release a revised version of Form I-821D by late May of 2014. The new Form I-821D will be a dual use form, in that can be used both to apply for an initial 2-year grant of DACA status as well as to apply for an extension of current DACA status. Once the revised form is published, the current version of Form I-821D will become obsolete.
USCIS also advised the public to file their DACA extension requests approximately 120 days, but no sooner than 150 days, before their expiration of their DACA status, in order to avoid accruing unlawful presence and causing a gap in employment authorization. USCIS also stated that documents pertaining to removal proceedings or criminal history should be submitted if they were not submitted before, though renewal applicants will not necessarily be required to re-submit original evidence demonstrating their DACA eligibility. Previously approved DACA applicants should retain or obtain copies of all documents originally provided to USCIS in case USCIS has questions as to whether they currently meet DACA guidelines.
Requests for DACA renewal made on the revised version of Form I-821D must be accompanied by Forms I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, and I-765WS, Worksheet, as before. Anticipating delays in its processing of DACA renewals, USCIS has suggested that it may provisionally extend DACA benefits and employment authorization for a short period of time for persons who file their extensions at least 120 days before the expiration of their DACA status and EAD.
The April 9, 2014 update from USCIS only pertains to USCIS-granted DACA renewals. Persons who received DACA from Immigration Customs Enforcement (ICE) should refer to the Deferred Action page on the ICE website for information on procedures for renewing their DACA status and EAD.
Timothy D. Widman is a San Jose Immigration Attorney and the owner of the Law Office of Timothy D. Widman.