With Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (“DACA”) renewal time on the horizon, it is particularly important that individuals who currently have DACA begin preparing in advance of the renewal period. The renewal period could be as short as one month, and may depend on when your DACA was approved. To be best prepared, make sure to DO the following:
- Save money. Though nothing is set in stone at this point, applicants will likely have to pay the same $465 that they paid the first time around to renew their DACA and work permits.
- Stay in close contact with your attorney. Your attorney will be able to advise you of the proper filing window and requirements as the information is released from immigration. Do not listen to your neighbors/friends/notarios, but rather go straight to a reliable source.
- Contact your attorney if you have been arrested for or convicted of a crime since your DACA was approved. You will need to advise your attorney of any arrests or convictions to determine if you are eligible to renew your DACA. Don’t wait until the last minute to do this.
- Contact your attorney if your education status has changed. If you have dropped out of school, graduated, or changed programs, make sure your attorney is aware of this. Your change in education status could affect your DACA eligibility.
- Contact your attorney for assistance in filing for DACA renewal. Do not try to do this yourself. You are dealing with a very picky and unforgiving agency – immigration. Even a small mistake could cause your case to be denied causing you to have to repay a filing fee. Best that the renewal is done right the first time, with the help of a professional.
As important as it is to DO the things listed above, it is just as important if not more so that you DON’T do any of the following:
- Do not pay any attorney or notario to do anything toward your renewal yet. Though an extension of DACA has been announced, the official form and process have not. Any attorney that tries to charge money based on a process that has not been made public should not be trusted. Be very careful.
- Do not drop out of school. This should be obvious; however, if you have dropped out of school, re-enroll ASAP. There should be little doubt that this will make you ineligible for DACA.
- Do not file anything now. The only thing that has been announced is that DACA will be extended. The form is not finalized, nor is the process. Do not try and get ahead of the game by filing now. Your filing will be rejected at best, and at worst, immigration could keep the filing fees and simply deny your case since you are still in status.
The worst possible thing that a DACA applicant could do right now, is nothing. Do not procrastinate and leave everything for the last minute. Make sure you follow the list of Do’s above, and avoid the Don’ts and once the window opens for DACA renewal, you will avoid stress and enjoy a better chance at quick and successful DACA renewal.