What is DACA | Current status of DACA | Renewing DACA |
Work permit | Advance parole | Applying for the first time |
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Updated January 4, 2023
The DACA program is not approving initial applications. DACA renewals are still being granted and can be completed by mail or online.
What is DACA?
DACA stands for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. It is a program that gives protection to certain people who entered the U.S. as children that meet guidelines set by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). It allows them to apply for a driver’s license, social security number, and work permit. It also offers deportation protection.
What is the current status of DACA?
DHS announced a final rule to continue the DACA program under the current policy. It went into effect on October 31, 2022. This rule means there are no changes for current DACA recipients and their ability to renew. New applicants will still not be able to apply under the DACA program because of the July 2021 court ruling.
- If you were granted DACA before the court decision on July 16, 2021, you will continue to have DACA as long as you renew it on time.
- If you currently have DACA, you can renew it. You can also request and receive advance parole.
- USCIS will continue to accept the filing of new requests for DACA and employment authorization, but they will not grant these requests.
“We are not a game.” Reactions of two dreamers to the latest DACA news
On October 5th, 2022, a federal appeals court agreed with the July 2021 Houston court ruling. They ruled the DACA program is unlawful. The case was sent back to the Houston court.
On October 14, 2022, Judge Hanen issued an order that extended the injunction and partial stay of the final rule. This means that USCIS will continue to accept and process DACA renewals, work permits, and advance parole for current DACA recipients until Judge Hanen decides the future of the DACA program.
The future of DACA in the courts is uncertain. Congress could also act.
We will keep this page updated.
Those who are already enrolled in DACA can still renew their status. The Biden Administration stated they will protect current dreamers with the new rule announced by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
Yes, you can still renew your DACA. Renewals last 2 years. You will need to submit Form I-821D online or by mail.
You must meet the following requirements:
- You have not left the USA on or after August 15, 2012 (without advance parole).
- You have continuously lived in the USA since your most recent DACA approval.
- You have not been convicted of a felony, a significant misdemeanor, or three or more misdemeanors.
If your DACA has expired, you can still submit a renewal application. If your DACA has expired beyond one year, you can still request DACA by submitting a new initial request. However, DHS is currently prohibited from approving these new requests.
TIP: apply for renewal 120 to 150 days before your current DACA expires to avoid disruption of status.
Yes. Workers with DACA can continue to renew their DACA and employment authorizations. Work permit requests are filed with Form I-765.
DACA employees are not required to tell employers they have DACA. Firing employees who have the legal right to work (like DACA recipients) based on their immigration status might violate federal law. If you believe you have suffered discrimination, you can call the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division at 800-255-7688.
Advance parole is a permit to leave the USA and come back. This permit must be received before you leave the country. Advance parole will be considered for DACA recipients, but it is not guaranteed.
- If you currently have advance parole, it is valid until it expires.
- If you travel outside the United States without advance parole, your DACA will be canceled. Speak to a lawyer or trusted immigration professional before leaving the USA.
Yes, you can still apply, but you will not be able to get DACA. Although USCIS will still accept first-time applications, the July 2021 court order prevents USCIS from processing or approving these applications.
Contact an immigration lawyer to learn about this option. Some lawyers say you should still send your new DACA application. They believe it could be good to have it pending in case the ruling changes. Beware of notarios and others who are seeking to charge to save you a spot in line.
You can apply for DACA for the first time if you meet the following requirements:
- You were under the age of 31 on June 15, 2012 (born after June 15, 1981).
- You are currently 15 years old or older or are under 15 but in removal proceedings.
- You started living in the US before your 16th birthday.
- You started living in the US before June 15, 2007, and have lived here ever since.
- You were physically present in the US on June 15, 2012.
- You had no lawful immigration status on June 15, 2012, and at the time of applying for DACA. This means:
- you never had lawful immigration status on or before June 15, 2012, or
- your lawful immigration status or parole expired by June 15, 2012 and any lawful immigration status expired before you submitted your DACA application
- You have not had any serious trouble with the law.
- You are in school, have graduated, or served in the military. These include:
- currently in school, a GED® program, or similar programs
- graduated from high school or secondary school
- obtained a GED®
- honorably discharged veteran of the Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the United States
TIP: Start collecting documents that can help you prove the requirements.
Remember, USCIS is accepting new applications but is not processing them. If you decide to apply, you will still have to pay the fees. Please check the fees before sending in your application.
If you have more questions, you can speak to a USCIS representative by calling their Contact Center at 800-375-5283 (TTY 800-767-1833).
Study for your GED® or HiSET credential online so you can go to university or find a better job.
It is important to get help if you can. Many organizations and lawyers offer free or low-cost legal services. Here are organizations that help people with DACA:
Free assistance with DACA renewals
Free assistance to help renew and apply for DACA.
Offers an annotated DACA application form with notes to help you fill it out.
Offers a step-by-step guide to eligibility and applying for DACA.
Resources for DACA applicants and recipients.
Offers a step-by-step guide on how to apply and renew your DACA that includes virtual preparation sessions.
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The information on this page comes from the National Immigration Law Center, USCIS, and other trusted sources. It is intended for guidance and is updated as often as possible. USAHello does not give legal advice, nor are any of our materials intended to be taken as legal advice.