3 Important Details to Understand About the DACA Renewal Process

The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, commonly referred to as DACA, was established in 2012 under the Obama administration with the intent of providing individuals who arrived in the United States under the age of 16 with a renewable – although temporary – work permit and protections against deportation.

Individuals who were safely and legally residing in the United States under the DACA program have been dealing with a great deal of uncertainty since the Trump administration announced in 2017 its intention to end the DACA program. Currently, the fate of DACA weighs heavily in the hands of the U.S. Supreme Court. For current DACA recipients, this brings up significant questions about how to approach the renewal process. Here are 3 things you need to know.

You Can and Should Apply to Renew Your DACA

Currently, you can still apply to renew your DACA.  As of now, the United States Supreme Court has not taken on the DACA case for their Spring 2019 session. What this means is that the Supreme Court won’t make any decisions on whether or not to end DACA before midsummer. Therefore, any rulings from the lower courts that permit DACA renewals still stand. Please note that, new first time DACA applications will not be accepted. Only renewal applications are allowed right now, even if you allowed your DACA to expire.

Window for Renewal

The USCIS’s recommended window for DACA renewal is 120-150 days before expiration. This period allows sufficient time for processing your renewal application and minimizes the risks of a lapse in DACA status. Even though this is the recommended window, the USCIS will process DACA renewals that are more than 150 days away from their expiration date.

Considering that the long-term status of DACA is still up in the air, there are some advantages to filing for your renewal as soon as possible. There are also downsides and complexities that can result from filing early, especially if this produces an overlap in your current and renewed DACA status. It’s smart to speak with a DACA renewal lawyer in Pasadena, to determine how early you should file for renewal.

Paying for Your DACA Renewal

The current fee for a DACA renewal is $495. You may be entitled to a fee exemption in very specific circumstances, including:

  • Any person under the age of 18 who is homeless, in foster care or otherwise without the benefit of parental or familial support. In this situation, your income must be less than 150% of the U.S poverty level.
  • Any person who suffers from a chronic disability that interferes with their ability to care for themselves. Income must be less than 150% of the U.S. Poverty level.
  • Any person who in the past 12 months has accumulated unreimbursed medical expenses of at least $10,000. Income must be less than 150% of the U.S poverty level.

Even if you don’t meet any of the above requirements for exemption from the renewal fee, there are additional resources that might be of help in assisting you in acquiring the funding for your renewal. For instance, United We Dream offers advice and resources to reach out to if you need help.


You must still meet certain requirements if you apply to renew your DACA:

  •  You must not have left the USA on or after August 15, 2012 without first having been granted advanced parole
  •  You must have lived in the USA continuously from the time you filed your initial DACA request until now
  •  You must not have been convicted of a felony, significant misdemeanor, or 3 or more misdemeanors
  • You must not be a threat to national security or public safety  

Contact an Experienced Immigration Lawyer

If you have questions about the DACA renewal process, one of the best places to turn is a DACA immigration lawyer in Pasadena that understands DACA laws and the challenges that you’re facing in the renewal process. With personal experience in immigration law, the Law Office of Malathi Benjamin approach immigration issues with a compassionate, experienced perspective. Contact the Law Office of Malathi Benjamin to discuss your DACA renewal case today.

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