DACA, or Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, provides a way for certain people who entered the US as children and meet other requirements to request deferred action status. Deferred action prevents deportation, by “deferring” removal action for a certain period of time, but it does not provide lawful status. DACA recipients also receive work authorization cards. Because the program began in June of 2012, it is now time for many DACA recipients to renew their status because their DACA and work permit is expiring soon. (See an interesting report here of DACA’s first two years!)
When to Apply:
Check the date your EAD Work Permit expires. The ideal time to apply is between 120 and 150 days before your card expires. If you apply with less than 120 days, your card may not be processed in time, and your current card could expire. On the other end, if you apply more than 150 days prior to the expiration of your DACA period, USCIS may reject your application.
First, you cannot have left the US on or after August 15, 2012 (or after the date you submitted your initial DACA request — if this date is earlier!) However, traveling on Advance Parole is permitted. Second, speak with an attorney if you have anything new with your criminal history since you originally applied for DACA. A felony, significant misdemeanor, or 3 misdemeanors will make you ineligible. Other new misdemeanors should be discussed with your attorney, and must be disclosed on the application.
Documents to prepare:
The same I-812D form is used to for initial and renewal DACA requests. All new documents related to removal proceedings or criminal history must be submitted with the application. Although you should maintain proof that you have resided in the US since your previous DACA application, USCIS asks that this proof is not sent with the application. Instead, hold onto these documents that show your residency, which likely include rental agreements, pay stubs, school transcripts, etc. USCIS reserves the right to ask, and might ask you to send this evidence later.
Good luck, and remember that a licensed Immigration Attorney can help you through the process of your DACA renewal.