As of December 7, 2020, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) has resumed processing requests to renew grants of deferred action under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. USCIS is also processing requests from individuals who are applying for deferred action under the DACA program for the first-time.
First-Time DACA Requests
For individuals who are applying for deferred action for the first time, to be considered, you must submit evidence with supporting documents, showing that you:
- Were under the age of 31 as of June 15, 2012;
- Came to the United States before reaching your 16th birthday;
- Have resided in the United States continuously from June 15, 2007 until the date you file your application;
- Were physically present in the United States on June 15, 2012 and at the time you filed your application for deferred action with USCIS;
- Had no lawful immigration status on June 15, 2012. Lawful status is any status where you:
- were temporarily or permanently admitted into the United States,
- have conditional permanent resident status,
- have an approved application for asylum,
- entered the United States under refugee status, with someone with a valid nonimmigrant status, with someone with a pending or approved application for temporary protected status (TPS), with someone who has approved deferred action status, or with someone who has a pending application for lawful permanent residence (LPR) or conditional permanent resident status.
- Are currently in school, have graduated or obtained a certificate of completion from high school, have obtained a General Educational Development (GED) certificate, or are an honorably discharged veteran of the Armed Forces of the United States or the United States Coast Guard; and
- Have not been convicted of a felony (generally, a criminal offense punishable by not less than one year imprisonment), significant misdemeanor (generally, a criminal offense that involves domestic violence, sexual abuse or exploitation, burglary, unlawful possession or use of a firearm, certain drug offenses, and operating a vehicle under the influence, or one for which you are sentenced to more than 90 days confinement), three or more other misdemeanors, and do not otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety.
These guidelines must be met for consideration of DACA. USCIS retains the ultimate discretion to determine whether deferred action is appropriate in any given case even if the guidelines are met.
Advice to UNT Students
Contact UNT Student Legal Services at 940-565-2614, StudentLegal@unt.edu, or visit in person at the University Union, suite 411 if you don’t have DACA status and meet the criteria for an initial application or would like to renew your DACA status.
- Request renewal 120-150 days before your status expires if you currently have an approved deferred action. Requesting renewal at the earliest time possible minimizes the possibility that your approved DACA status expires before you receive a decision on your renewal request.
- If you currently have DACA status, USCIS will accept renewal requests more than 150 days before your status expires; however, filing earlier than 150-days could result approval of your renewal before your status expires.
- Request renewal even if your DACA status has expired. Typically, USCIS will not reject requests for renewal if the expiration date does not exceed one year.
- File a new request if you previously had DACA status but it expired more than one year ago, or your status was terminated. You may not request renewal of a deferred action that has been expired for more than a year. Remember, if you had DACA and it expired less than one year ago, you can request renewal and USCIS typically will accept the request.
Contact USCIS immediately if your renewal has been pending for 105 days or more. You can contact the agency through the USCIS Contact Center or through your personal USCIS online account if you have created one. You can create an account through the USCIS portal.
Traveling Inside and Outside the United States with DACA Status
Advance Parole is a process that allows immigrants and DACA recipients to leave the U.S. and re-enter lawfully. A person must apply for Advance Parole with the USCIS and USCIS must approve the application before the person leaves the country. A DACA recipient who leaves the country before being granted Advance Parole, t risks not being allowed to lawfully re-enter the U.S.
Advance Parole is for humanitarian-focused reasons such as visiting sick relatives, taking care of an immediate relative, or attending a funeral outside the United States. It cannot be used for vacations or leisure trips. However, in some instances, Advance Parole, if granted, allows a DACA recipients to travel to another country for:
- Business conferences/purposes
- Study abroad opportunities
- Medical Treatment
To apply for Advance Parole, you must file Form I-131 and provide proof of your reason to travel with USCIS. Again, if you travel outside the United States without getting Advance Parole approved, USCIS will consider your application abandoned, which makes re-entry difficult.
The December 4th order also:
- Extends one-year grants of deferred action under DACA to two years; and
- Extends one-year employment authorization documents under DACA to two years.
- Allows new applications to be considered.
University of North Texas students who are in need of assistance with their DACA renewals or initial applications can email Student Legal Services at StudentLegal@unt.edu to book an appointment or call 940-565-2614. Student Legal Services is taking appointments in person and virtually.