If you’ve already been granted Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) status by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), you are eligible to renew your status every two years. You’ll need to fill out Form I-821D and submit it along with other required forms and fees to renew. It’s also recommended that you prepare a simple cover letter to include with your application. The cover letter allows the USCIS officer to see what’s included with your application at a glance. This article explains what a DACA renewal cover letter is and the elements it should include. It also includes a template you can use to write your own.
You can check our DACA processing times page to see how long it's taking USCIS to process DACA renewals right now.
What Is a DACA Renewal Cover Letter?
DACA status allows eligible young undocumented immigrants to receive work permits, or employment authorization documents (EADs), and 2-year renewable protection from deportation. To maintain your DACA status, you must submit a renewal application and continue to meet the following eligibility criteria:
- You have previously been a DACA recipient.
- It has not been more than a year since your previous DACA status expired. If your status has expired, you’ll need to submit a new DACA application instead of a renewal.
- Your current DACA expiration date is not more than a year from now.
- Since your first-time DACA application, you have not left the United States without receiving Advance Parole first.
- Since your most recently approved DACA application, you have continuously resided in the United States.
- You do not have a disqualifying criminal record.
You may wish to include a cover letter with your DACA renewal request. Cover letters serve as an organizational tool. These letters tell USCIS officers more about you, the status you’re applying for, and the contents of your application. A cover letter makes it easier for a USCIS officer to review your application without overlooking anything important. You can also use a cover letter as a checklist to help ensure you’ve included all the necessary application materials.
Is a Cover Letter Required for My DACA Renewal Application?
USCIS recommends, but does not require, a cover letter for your DACA renewal application. However, there are several benefits to submitting a cover letter. With a cover letter, you can bring attention to anything important or unique that you’d like USCIS to know about. DACA has strict eligibility requirements. If you think you might have a complicated case, a cover letter can help you explain your circumstances to USCIS.
For example, you may want to address any concerns about your educational, military, or criminal history, if applicable. If you have had any brief periods of absence from the United States for humanitarian reasons, you can also take this opportunity to explain why you still meet the continuous residency requirement for DACA status.
You can also use the cover letter to outline the contents of your application package. Listing your application contents can be useful to the USCIS officer reviewing your paperwork.
What Should My DACA Renewal Cover Letter Include?
If you submit a cover letter with your application, be sure to include the following:
- The USCIS Lockbox address to which you’re sending your application
- The date you wrote your letter
- An appropriate subject (re:) line
- A greeting
- A short introductory paragraph to describe the contents of your letter and package
- An ordered list of the content in your application package
- A closing paragraph, your signature, and your printed name
You’ll need to submit several supporting documents with your application, including:
- An acceptable photo identification (ID). This may include the following:
- Birth certificate
- School ID
- U.S. military ID
- U.S. government immigration documents with your name and photo on it
- Your learner’s permit or non-driver ID
- Two passport photos
- Form I-765, the Application for Employment Authorization
- Form I-765WS, the Application for Employment Authorization Worksheet
- A copy of the front and back of your current work permit
You’ll be including the cover letter with your Form I-821D, the Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. You can find the correct mailing address for Form I-821D, your supporting documents, and your cover letter from USCIS.
You’ll need to pay a $495 filing fee to renew your status. You can pay the fee with a money order or a credit card. You should make any money orders payable to the DHS by writing out “U.S. Department of Homeland Security.” To pay by credit card, you must file Form G-1450 with your application.
DACA Renewal Sample Cover Letter Template
You may use the following template for guidance on writing your cover letter. However, be sure to edit each field to reflect your own situation. Note that you are the “beneficiary” in your application. You may make a copy of this document to access an individualized version of the template below:
[Beneficiary’s address line 1]
[Beneficiary’s address line 2]
[Beneficiary’s address line 3]
[Direct mailing address info for USCIS]
RE: Request for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Renewal
To Whom It May Concern:
Enclosed, please find the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals renewal request for [Beneficiary Name].
The following documents accompany and support this application:
Filing Fee Payments or Form G-1450 authorizing payment of the filing fee for Form I-765 and biometrics services.
List of forms included:
Form G-1145 [if included]
Beneficiary’s Form I-821D, Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals
Beneficiary’s Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization
Beneficiary’s Form I-765WS, Form I-765 Worksheet
Beneficiary’s Form I-131, Application for Travel Document [if included]
[List them in the order that they appear]
If you have any questions or concerns, please call me at [phone number]. Thank you very much for your prompt consideration of my Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals renewal request.
[Applicant Name & Signature]
Tips for Writing Your DACA Renewal Cover Letter
When writing your cover letter, write clearly and concisely. You should try to type your letter on a computer if possible. Typing your letter will make it easier for a USCIS official to read and understand. Be sure to use spell check to review your spelling and grammar and to proofread your letter.
You should not staple any of your application materials. If you want to keep certain documents together, use paper clips instead. Be sure to mail your application package as certified mail.
Once you've mailed in your application, keep an eye on our DACA processing times page to see how long it's taking USCIS to process DACA renewals right now.
Submitting your DACA renewal application can be complicated, but help is available. If you are eligible, our free web app will walk you through the DACA renewal process and help you prepare and file your application with the U.S. government. If our app isn’t a good fit, we may be able to refer you to an experienced immigration attorney to help. Click "Get Started" to see how we can help make your American dream come true!