Due to recent developments in U.S. immigration policy, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program has undergone significant changes. On July 16, 2021, a district court in Texas held that DACA is unconstitutional. As a result, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is no longer processing new DACA applications. Happily, though, previous DACA recipients can still renew their status.
If you are applying to renew your DACA status, there are some reasons that USCIS might reject your application. Common reasons include failing to reply to requests for evidence (RFEs), or changes since your last application that make you no longer eligible for DACA. This article will walk you through 8 reasons USCIS might deny your DACA renewal application and what you can do about each.
USCIS may deny your DACA renewal application if your application packet is missing one or more DACA renewal application forms. USCIS will not process your DACA renewal application if you forget to submit even one of the forms required. When you are putting your DACA renewal application together, you must be careful to include all of the required forms and supporting documents that USCIS requires. You can follow our DACA renewal checklist to be sure that you have remembered to include everything before mailing your application to USCIS.
USCIS requires three forms to process your DACA renewal request. Your complete DACA renewal application packet must include the following completed forms:
Form I-821D is the actual DACA renewal application form. USCIS will reconsider your DACA grant together with your work authorization application, so you must submit Form I-765 in order to get or renew your DACA work permit. To determine that you actually need an Employment Authorization Document (EAD or work permit), USCIS will need to know that you have a financial need. You demonstrate that financial need on Form I-765WS.
USCIS may deny your DACA renewal request if one or more of the application forms you submitted were incomplete. All three DACA renewal forms — Form I-821D, Form I-765, and Form I-765WS — must be completed in full. A form is complete when the applicant provides all the information requested on the form without leaving any spaces blank, unless the form specifies to leave the space blank.
To ensure that you answer every required question, you should carefully review the instructions for each of the three DACA Renewal forms. You can complete the forms online by typing in the answers or downloading them and completing them by hand in black ink.
Check out our article on how to renew your DACA status for step-by-step guidance in putting your renewal application together.
If you use our free web app for your DACA renewal application, we will help you ensure that all of your forms are complete and ready for submission.
USCIS will not process your application if you don’t include payment for your filing fees. You must include payment for your application's filing fee in the exact amount. If you pay less or more than the required amount, without seeking a fee waiver or fee reduction, USCIS will deny your DACA renewal application.
There are two fees to pay for your DACA renewal: $410 for the work permit and $85 for biometrics. This amounts to a total fee of $495. You need to include this exact amount in your application when you submit it.
You can pay your DACA renewal fee in a few different ways: by credit card, debit card, check, or money order. You can’t pay your DACA renewal fees with cash.
Make any checks or money orders payable to the "U.S. Department of Homeland Security" so that USCIS can process your payment. Do not write checks to "DHS" or "U.S. DHS" or "United States DHS."
There are no fee waivers for DACA, but there are a few limited circumstances where you may get a “fee exemption.” If you cannot afford the filing fees, check out our article on tips for paying the fees.
You can also cut some of the costs involved in the application process if you use our free web app to prepare your DACA renewal application instead of hiring a lawyer.
For every form you submit to USCIS, there are required supporting documents that must accompany your application. USCIS will always outline the specific documents that you should submit with the form in the form instructions. You should review the form instructions for each of the three DACA renewal forms to make sure you have included every supporting document USCIS wants. The form instructions for every USCIS form are available on the USCIS website.
Because the DACA renewal is not a new application, you usually don't have to submit too many supporting documents with your renewal unless your circumstances have changed since USCIS approved your last DACA application. Generally, you should include these documents for a renewal:
Check out our DACA renewal supporting documents article to learn more about what kinds of documents to submit if your circumstances have changed since your last filing.
We can help you put your DACA renewal application together for free.
Sometimes while reviewing your application, USCIS may determine that they do not have enough information to make a decision on your application. If this happens, USCIS will send you a Request for Evidence (RFE). An RFE does not mean USCIS has rejected your case - It just means that USCIS is allowing you to present additional evidence to support your case. If USCIS sends you an RFE, it will include a due date for submitting the evidence USCIS asked for on the RFE notice.
You must submit your RFE response to USCIS by the specified date. Consider the RFE response due date as the expiration date for submitting the requested evidence. USCIS will not consider any evidence it receives after that date for your application. Make arrangements so that the post office (USPS) or courier service you use delivers your RFE response in time. If USCIS does not have enough evidence to process your DACA renewal application by the date requested, they may deny your application.
USCIS will send the RFE notice to the mailing address listed on your DACA renewal application. For this reason, it is crucial that you update USCIS with any changes to your address after submitting your DACA renewal application. This will help you to not miss an RFE response due date just because you never knew about it.
Our DACA renewal checklists can help you ensure you have included all initial evidence for your application.
RFEs can be stressful, time-consuming, and cost-intensive. We can help you avoid RFEs by getting your application right the first time with our free web app.
You can renew your DACA status whenever you feel comfortable within the one year period before or after your current status expires. USCIS recommends that you file for the renewal between 120 and 150 days to your DACA expiration date. Most people apply for DACA renewal 120 days to the expiration of their current DACA so that they don't lose too much time on their status.
If you file your DACA renewal application later than 120 days, USCIS will still accept your application, but you may be out of status for a while as processing can take a few months. In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic has made application processing times even longer. Please also note that if you submit your renewal application more than 150 days before your current expiration, USCIS may approve your renewal before your current expiration date. If this happens, you will lose time in status.
We can help you prepare your DACA renewal application before your current status expires with our free web app.
If you want to travel outside of the United States while on DACA, you need to have Advance Parole to return to the U.S. legally. Advance Parole is a travel permit that USCIS grants to immigrants who do not have permanent status so that they can travel outside of the U.S. while waiting to receive their immigration status.
To apply for Advance Parole, you must submit Form 1-131, Application for Travel Document. If you have DACA and you leave the U.S. without Advance Parole, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) will likely deny your re-entry, and USCIS will cancel both your current DACA and your DACA renewal request. Even Advance Parole does not necessarily guarantee your re-entry into the U.S. It may help to talk to a lawyer if you want to travel outside of the U.S. while on DACA.
USCIS may deny your DACA renewal application if they find that you committed a serious crime. When you provide your information at the biometric screening, USCIS runs your fingerprints through the FBI's criminal database to confirm that you do not have a criminal record that makes you ineligible for DACA.
USCIS will not consider you for DACA if you pose a national security threat or if you have a felony, significant misdemeanor, or three or more misdemeanors. You can read all about these criminal barriers to DACA eligibility on USCIS's website. If these apply to you, USCIS will typically refer your case to ICE for removal proceedings and deportation.
If you are applying for DACA renewal and are worried about a past criminal offense, it is wise to talk about it with an immigration lawyer before submitting your application. You can find free and low-cost legal services on the USA.gov website.
We can help you put your DACA renewal application together for free so that you get it right the very first time.
If USCIS denied your DACA renewal application, it would be best to reach out to an immigration lawyer or accredited representative to walk you through your options. According to USCIS policy, you generally cannot appeal a denial decision or file a motion for USCIS to reopen or reconsider your DACA renewal denial.
However, in certain instances where the denial is because of a USCIS administrative error, you can submit a service request for USCIS to look into your case. Administrative errors would include things like if USCIS sent your RFE notice to an old address even though you had informed them of a change of address before issuing the RFE.
If USCIS denies your DACA renewal application, it may be possible to reapply depending on what USCIS's reasons were for the denial.
For example, if USCIS denied your application because you didn’t submit required supporting documents that you actually did submit, you may appeal the denial or reapply. If you need to file an appeal, it would be a good idea to work with an experienced immigration attorney. You can find one at low or no cost on USA.gov.
If, on the other hand, USCIS finds that you are ineligible for DACA and you do not have any evidence to prove that you are eligible, you probably won’t be able to appeal or reapply. In that case, you may have to consider other immigration benefits. We can help you figure out what benefits you may be eligible for if you complete our eligibility screener.
We hope that you found our guide to common reasons why USCIS would deny your DACA renewal application useful. DACA Renewal can be complicated, but working with a good immigration attorney can make it easier. If you can't afford the attorney fees and don't want to handle your DACA Renewal case alone, we may be able to help. If you are eligible, our free web app will walk you through the process and help you prepare and file your application with the U.S. government. Click "Get Started" to see how we can help make your American dream come true!