The Complete Guide To Renewing DACA in 2023
Despite recent challenges to the DACA program, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is accepting and processing DACA renewal requests in 2023. To apply for a DACA renewal, gather your previous DACA forms, complete the three required USCIS forms, get your filing fee ready, and submit your packet. If you are a current DACA recipient, you can renew your DACA status and work permit with USCIS online or by mail. Renewing your DACA status and work permit costs $495. As of March 2023, the processing time for DACA renewals is 3–18 months.
Written by Jonathan Petts.
Updated March 21, 2023
How To Renew Your DACA Status
To begin, gather your old DACA paperwork, the most current versions of the DACA forms, your passport pictures, and the $495 application fee for your DACA renewal. Then, check to see if you’re eligible to use our web app to prepare your renewal application forms for free and get support from our team.
Step 1: Find Your Most Recent DACA Paperwork
Use your previous paperwork as a guide to complete your DACA renewal forms. If you are using our free web app, you can easily answer the questions using the information from your previous DACA renewal. If this is your first time renewing your status, you can use your paperwork from your first DACA application.
Step 2: Gather & Complete Forms I-821D, I-765, and I-765WS
If you are using our free app to prepare your paperwork, we will provide the forms you need. If you decide not to use our app, you need to download the most current DACA and work authorization forms from the USCIS website.
You need the following forms:
Form I-821D: Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals
Form I-765: Application for Employment Authorization
Form I-765WS: Worksheet for Form I-765
You can learn more about each of these important forms by reading our other articles:
What Is Form I-765: Application for Employment Authorization?
If you complete the forms without our help, you should check your responses with your previous filing(s) to make sure that the information is the same. Remember: Our nonprofit built a free app that will help you prepare your DACA paperwork and review your forms for free!
Get Your Passport Photo Taken
You will need to include two passport photos taken within 30 days of the day you file your Form I-765. Many pharmacies, post offices, and FedEx and UPS stores will take passport photos for a small fee.
Step 3: Pay the $495 Filing Fee
You will need to pay the $495 filing fee with a money order or by credit card. The fees include $410 for your employment authorization and $85 for your biometrics appointment.
You can get a money order from most banks, post offices, and grocery stores. The money order should be for exactly $495 and made out to “U.S. Department of Homeland Security.” Do not use abbreviations like “DHS.” If you do, USCIS will reject your DACA application.
If you choose to pay by credit card, you will need to include a completed Form G-1450: Authorization for Credit Card Transactions with your application paperwork.
Need Help With USCIS Fees?
Check out our guide on 6 Tips To Afford USCIS Filing Fees. You can also apply for the United We Dream DACA renewal fund.
Step 4: Assemble & Submit Your Renewal Packet to USCIS
If you are mailing in your renewal packet, assemble your paperwork in the following order to make it easier for USCIS to review:
Money order or Form G-1450
Form G-1145 (if you choose to submit it)
A copy of the front and back of your current employment authorization document
Copies of any supporting documents
TIP: Do not staple the items in your packet together. Staples make it harder for USCIS to review everything — use paper clips instead.
If you submit your DACA renewal application online, you won’t have to worry about this step. Just follow the prompts in your myUSCIS account.
How To Write a DACA Cover Letter
A cover letter tells USCIS who you are, what you are applying for, and what items you have included in your application packet. If you need help writing your DACA renewal cover letter, check out our article How To Write a Cover Letter for a DACA Renewal, which includes a free cover letter template.
Submit Your Renewal Packet to USCIS
After reviewing and double-checking your DACA renewal application packet, you are ready to send it to USCIS! If you are filing online, simply follow the prompts in your myUSCIS account to submit your application.
If you are mailing your application, use the filing address guide on USCIS.gov to see where to send your renewal request. USCIS’ filing addresses are different depending on your location. If you don’t send yours to the correct location, your application could be rejected.
TIP: Use a mail service that includes a tracking number. This way you can be certain USCIS received your application and you will know the date it was received. The USPS Priority Mail flat-rate envelope is a great, affordable option.
Don’t Forget To Make a Copy!
Before you send your application to USCIS, make a copy of everything. Keep your copies in a safe place in case you need to refer to them in the future. This includes:
Your payment receipt (money order or credit card payment)
All supporting documents
Any mailed or emailed notices from USCIS
What Is the DACA Renewal Timeline?
The processing time for a typical DACA renewal takes anywhere from 3–18 months. During that time, USCIS will send multiple notices about your application to your mailing address. Most people who apply to renew their DACA status and employment authorization receive the following notices:
Receipt Notice (2–3 weeks After You File)
Your receipt notice (sometimes called a Notice of Action) will contain a unique code called a receipt number that consists of three letters and 10 numbers, such as ABC1234567891. You can use this code to track the status of your application here.
Biometrics Appointment Notice (4–6 Weeks After You File)
USCIS will schedule your biometrics appointment and send you notice of the date, time, and location 4–6 weeks after you file your DACA renewal application.
DACA Approval Notice (5–10 Months After You File)
USCIS will approve your Form I-821D and send you an approval letter 5–10 months after you file your application.
Employment Authorization Card (6–12 Months After You File)
After USCIS approves your I-821D, it will process your I-765 within 90 days. You should receive your new employment authorization card 6–12 months after you file your application. Contact USCIS if you haven't received any notices within 105 days of filing your application.
What’s Happening With Initial Applications?
Immigration law is ever-changing and DACA has been challenged in district courts all the way up to the Supreme Court. Right now, USCIS is not processing DACA status or EADs for first-time applicants.
If you are trying to make an initial DACA request because you’re worried about your immigration status or fearing deportation, you should get legal advice from an experienced immigration attorney. You can speak with a lawyer for $24/month through our Ask an Attorney program. To learn more about our services, read user reviews, and meet our team, check out our Why Trust Us page.