USCIS Resumes Accepting Certain DACA Applications
On Saturday, January 13, 2018, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that it has resumed accepting certain requests under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program – opening the door once again for many undocumented youth (aka “dreamers”) to seek protection from deportation while also maintaining (or obtaining) lawful employment. This latest development stems from a federal court injunction (issued just last week) ordering the Trump administration to resume DACA until a lawsuit challenging the administration’s decision to end the program fully plays out in court.
Citing this court decision, the USCIS announced on its website that “until further notice” the agency will be operating the DACA program under the terms in place before it was rescinded on September 5, 2017 – with a few key exceptions.
Here are the current guidelines for filing DACA applications (subject to change – so always make sure you check the USCIS website for the latest!)
- First Time Applications Not Allowed – as instructed by the court order, the USCIS will only accept DACA applications for individuals who were previously granted deferred action. USCIS is not accepting requests from dreamers who have never been granted DACA.
- Renewals may be filed if DACA expired on or after September 5, 2016 – the USCIS has indicated that DACA holders may file a renewal application if their DACA had expired on or after September 5, 2016 (one year from the date the program was rescinded).
- Expired or Terminated DACA holders can file new application– individuals whose DACA expired before September 5, 2016 or whose DACA was previously terminated can re-apply by filing a new application (i.e., they must also submit all of the necessary background information to provide they meet the program requirements)
- Travel Permission not allowed – as expected, the USCIS will not accept or approve advance parole requests from DACA recipients to leave and re-enter the US.
- The forms and fees remain the same – the USCIS has re-posted the applicable forms for DACA which remain the same as before. Applicants are instructed to file Form I-821D, Form I-765, and Form I-765 Worksheet, with the $495 fee or approved fee exemption request, at the USCIS designated filing location, and in accordance with the instructions to the Form I-821D and Form I-765.
As previously reported, the Trump administration had indicated it would appeal the judge’s decision and could even request a stay of the order while the appeal is ongoing. In addition, the Trump administration along with congressional democrats and republicans continue to debate (often heatedly) a more permanent legislative solution for DACA, which may change all of these rules once again. In the meantime, we’ll continue to monitor the DACA rollercoaster very closely and update our software to accommodate the latest developments.