Learn about your rights to be protected as a Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals recipient.
What is the current status of the DACA program?
On July 16, 2021, a federal district court judge in Texas ruled against the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, putting a partial end to the policy for new applicants. The judge ordered that no new first-time DACA requests could be granted as of that day; however, it allowed USCIS to continue granting renewal requests while the decision was appealed. The federal government appealed the decision to a higher court—the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals—which issued its decision on October 4, 2022. The Fifth Circuit agreed that the 2012 memo creating DACA is unlawful, but it did not order an immediate end to the program, and individuals with DACA can continue to renew for now. The Fifth Circuit sent the case back to the district court for more proceedings on the new DACA regulation scheduled to go into effect on October 31.
This new regulation replaces the original 2012 DACA Memo that created the program, but it does not at this time change the status of DACA. The eligibility criteria in the rule remain the same, meaning that no new individuals will be eligible for DACA when the rule is in effect. Even if eligible, first-time applicants are still unable to be granted DACA at this time due to the court decisions. However, current DACA recipients are still protected and USCIS may continue to grant them renewals for now. The status of the program could change further as courts issue more decisions, so we recommend checking the USCIS or United We Dream’s website for up-to-date information.
I currently have DACA. Am I able to keep it for now?
Yes. Current DACA recipients are still protected and can keep their deferred action and work permits for now.
Can I apply to renew my DACA?
Yes. If you have been granted DACA in the past, you may apply to renew your DACA. If your situation has changed since you last applied (for example, if you have had contact with law enforcement), we recommend that you consult with an immigration attorney or accredited representative before filing your renewal.
When should I apply to renew my DACA?
If your DACA expires soon, you are encouraged to apply for renewal. Currently, USCIS suggests filing a renewal request between 120 and 150 days (i.e., between 4 and 5 months) prior to the expiration of your DACA. USCIS will accept forms before 150 days but it may not process them until your DACA is within 150 days of expiration. There is currently no deadline by when renewal requests are due. However, it is possible that a court could order USCIS to stop granting renewal applications in the future. If you are thinking about renewing earlier than 150 days in advance, we recommend that you consult with an immigration attorney or accredited representative before filing your renewal early.
Can I get DACA approved for the first time?
Not at this time. Due to the Texas federal judge’s order, USCIS is currently not able to approve any new initial requests for people who have never had DACA before. USCIS is able to accept your request but will not able to process or grant it right now. Currently, only people who have previously had DACA can have their DACA renewed.
I have DACA. Can I apply for advance parole to travel outside the U.S.?
According to USCIS’s DACA Frequently Asked Questions, the agency will continue to process and grant advance parole to current DACA recipients for now. We recommend that you consult with an immigration attorney or accredited representative before applying for advance parole and before traveling outside the U.S.
I had DACA, but it was revoked even though I still qualify for DACA. What should I do?
I heard that the Biden administration has issued a new rule about DACA. What does that mean if I currently have DACA or want to apply for DACA?
On August 24, 2022, the Biden administration finalized a formal rule for the DACA program that replaces the 2012 DACA Memo that created the program. The final rule is scheduled to go into effect on October 31, 2022. However, this final rule does not impact the current status of DACA. If you currently have DACA, you are still protected and you may continue to apply for renewals. If you have applied for renewal already, your application for renewal should continue to be processed as before. If you are eligible for DACA but never applied, DHS can still accept your application but will not be able to grant it. Importantly, the new rule does not expand the eligibility criteria for DACA, so even when it goes into effect no new individuals will be eligible for DACA who weren’t before.
The DACA program is still being considered by the courts and the situation can change, so we recommend that you check the USCIS website regularly. United We Dream also offers resources about applying for DACA here.
Additional information on DACA
For details directly from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services: Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals