How to re-register for DACA

It has been two years since the first DACA applications were accepted and approved. Since the program lasts for two years, many young people must now begin the re-registration process.

In this week's Consulta Migratoria® column, I explain the process and answer a question from a reader who wants to know how and when she should file her DACA renewal application.

In my column I provide general answers to your questions. Please consult with an immigration attorney to receive personalized legal advice before beginning any proceedings.

Here is the content of the column:

I am enrolled in DACA and my work permit expires on March 26, 2015. I have heard that I have to renew my work permit well in advance, otherwise I will lose the opportunity to work legally in the U.S. What do I have to do to renew my work permit in time? -Lillian R.

Lillian, congratulations on being enrolled in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. You are right, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) recommends that DACA renewals be filed 120 to 150 days (four to five months) before each person's current deferred action period expires to avoid problems if there are delays in processing. But don't get too far ahead of yourself. USCIS will reject renewal applications filed more than 150 days in advance.

In your case, you must re-register for DACA and apply to renew your work permit between October 27 and November 26, 2014.

The DACA re-registration process for eligible individuals began on June 5, 2014.

DACA Re-registration Process

It is of utmost importance to consult with a licensed and experienced immigration attorney or federally accredited representative before beginning any immigration proceedings.

The first DACA applications that were approved in 2012 have begun to expire. To avoid an interruption in the period of deferred action and employment authorization, it is very important that DACA recipients submit renewal applications before their permits expire.

Remember, people who have not lived continuously in the United States since June 15, 2007 are not eligible for DACA.

Here are the details on how to renew, according to USCIS:

Individuals may file a petition to be considered for DACA renewal if they meet the initial DACA requirements and the following requirements:

● Have not departed the U.S. without advance parole on or after August 15, 2012.

● Have lived continuously in the United States since they filed and approved their most recent DACA petition to the present.

● Have not been convicted of a felony, a significant misdemeanor, or three or more misdemeanors.

● Are in no way a threat to national security or public safety.

To begin the renewal process, you must present the Form I-821DDeferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Consideration, Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization and Form I-765 Worksheet.

The processing fee is $465. USCIS will re-verify the background of the person applying for DACA renewal.

The above instructions are for re-registering for DACA, not for applying for DACA for the first time.

USCIS continues to accept applications for DACA from people who have never registered for the program before. You can learn more about how to apply for DACA for the first time by clicking here.

DACA authorizes certain undocumented individuals who arrived in the United States before the age of 16 and meet certain requirements to live and work legally in the United States for a period of two years. Since applications began being accepted in August 2012, more than 500,000 people have enrolled in the program.

For more information and immigration tips, read my blog

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Nelson A. Castillo, Esq. is an immigration attorney and author of La Tarjeta Verde: Cómo Obtener la Residencia Permanente en los Estados Unidos (Green Card: How to Obtain Permanent Residence in the United States). He is a past president of the Hispanic National Bar Association and current president of the Los Angeles Westlake South Neighborhood Council. To contact Mr. Castillo's office, please call (213) 537-VISA (8472).

The purpose of this column is to provide general information. There can be no guarantee or prediction as to what will be the outcome of the information presented by Dr. Nelson A. Castillo. The information should not be taken as legal advice for any individual, case or situation. Consult with an immigration attorney for personalized legal advice before beginning any immigration proceedings.