DACA Processing Time2024-01-11T10:01:59+00:00

DACA Processing Time: What to Expect in 2024

The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program has been a significant policy for undocumented individuals who were brought to the United States as children. Processing times for DACA applications, which include Form I-821D for deferred action and Form I-765 for employment authorization, have historically varied. Applicants and their supporters pay close attention to these timelines as they significantly impact their ability to work and reside in the U.S. without fear of immediate deportation.
Understanding the processing times for initial and renewal DACA applications is crucial, not only for the applicants themselves but also for employers, educational institutions, and various service providers. As of the latest updates, initial applications and renewals are expected to take several months, subject to a range of factors including application volumes and changes in immigration policies. These factors can cause fluctuations in processing times, thus making it essential for applicants to stay informed about the current trends and possible delays.

Overview of DACA Processing

The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) is a policy that provides eligible immigrant youth, who came to the United States when they were children, a chance to defer deportation and obtain work authorization.

Processing Times:

  • Receipt of Application: Typically, individuals can expect a receipt within 2 to 4 weeks following their filing.
  • Total Processing Duration: While this time can vary, applicants should anticipate the entire process to take several months.

An application is considered complete when it includes the necessary forms, which are:

  • Form I-821D: Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals
  • Form I-765: Application for Employment Authorization
  • Form I-765WS: Employment Authorization Worksheet

Applicants are advised to check the official United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) website for the most up-to-date processing times. It should be noted that processing times are not guaranteed and can be influenced by various factors. These factors may include, but are not limited to, administrative errors, the need for further background checks, or high volumes of applications received.

It is important for applicants to ensure their applications are accurate and complete to avoid unnecessary delays. Moreover, they should be aware of any developments in the DACA program, as changes in immigration policy can impact processing times and procedures.

Eligibility and Application Requirements

To be eligible for DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals), individuals must meet several criteria. They should have arrived in the United States before reaching 16 years of age and must have been under the age of 31 as of June 15, 2012. Continuous residence in the U.S. since June 15, 2007, is required. Applicants must be currently in school, have graduated from high school, obtained a GED, or be an honorably discharged veteran of the Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the United States.

Key Eligibility Requirements:

  • Arrival before age 16
  • Under age 31 as of June 15, 2012
  • Continuous residence since June 15, 2007
  • Educational or military service requirement

When applying for DACA, individuals must submit the following forms:

  • Form I-821D, Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals
  • Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization
  • Form I-765WS, Worksheet (to establish economic need for employment)

Application Process:

  1. Proof of Identity: Present documentation verifying identity, such as a passport or birth certificate.
  2. Proof of Residency: Provide evidence of having lived continuously in the United States from June 15, 2007, to the present.
  3. Proof of Education or Military Service: Show proof of currently being in school, having graduated, obtaining a GED, or military discharge papers.
  4. Background Checks: Undergo background checks, including fingerprinting and other biometric data collection.

Applicants should ensure all forms are correctly completed and accompanied by the appropriate fee unless exempted. It’s crucial to provide accurate and up-to-date information to avoid delays in processing.

Average Processing Times for DACA

The processing times for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) have varied over the years. From 2018 to 2021, the average duration to process new applications was 7.6 months. These times are subject to change, often influenced by policy shifts or legal challenges.

Applicants can expect to wait approximately 2 to 4 weeks to receive a receipt of application. After this initial acknowledgment, the overall process duration can differ, depending on several factors, including changes in immigration policy or the volume of applications received by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

As of the latest available data up to June 30, 2021, the historical average processing time stood at 5.9 months for initial requests. USCIS endeavors to process DACA renewal requests within 120 days. These time frames are not guaranteed as extenuating circumstances or changes in administrative priorities can affect processing times.

It is important for applicants and interested parties to regularly check the USCIS website or trusted legal resources for the latest updates on DACA processing times, as they can fluctuate based on the regulatory environment and operational capacities.

Factors Affecting DACA Processing Times

Several critical elements influence the processing times for DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) applications. These factors can significantly vary, causing fluctuation in the timeframe applicants may expect for their cases to be processed.

Application Volume

The number of applications received by USCIS plays a crucial role in processing times. A surge in applications can lead to backlogs, slowing down the overall processing speed.

Application Complexity

Individual case details can affect the processing duration. Cases that require additional evidence or entail complex immigration histories may take longer to adjudicate than more straightforward applications.

Agency Staffing Levels

The number of available staff at USCIS directly impacts their ability to process DACA applications promptly. Lower staffing levels can result in longer processing times due to the increased workload on existing personnel.

Policy Changes

Shifts in immigration policy or court decisions can alter the processing landscape for DACA applications. Such changes may require new training for staff or even result in temporary pauses in processing, thus affecting the processing pace.

Steps to Apply for DACA

Applying for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) involves a multi-step process. One must meticulously gather documentation, fill out the required forms, and pay the applicable fees.

Documentation Gathering

Applicants should begin by collecting documents that prove:

  • Identity
  • Presence in the U.S. before the age of 16
  • Continuous residence in the U.S. since June 15, 2007
  • Presence in the U.S. on June 15, 2012, and at the time of applying
  • Enrollment in school, graduation from high school, GED certificate, or honorable discharge from the military

Completing Application Forms

The next step is to complete the necessary forms provided by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), including:

  • Form I-821D: Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals
  • Form I-765: Application for Employment Authorization
  • Form I-765WS: Worksheet

Applicants should ensure accuracy to avoid rejection.


Submit the following:

  1. Filled-out forms
  2. Supporting documents
  3. Application fees

Applicants must mail their application to the appropriate USCIS Service Center.

Await Acknowledgment

After submitting the application, the applicant typically receives a receipt notice from the USCIS within 2 to 4 weeks. This notice confirms the application is being processed.

Biometrics Appointment

USCIS may schedule a biometrics appointment for fingerprinting and photographing. Attendance is mandatory.

Checking Status

Applicants can check their case status using the receipt number on the USCIS website.


USCIS will then either grant DACA and Employment Authorization or not. Decisions and relevant guidance will be communicated.

How to Check Your DACA Application Status

Once an individual has submitted their application for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), it is natural to want to know the application’s status. The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) offers several tools to track the progress of an application.

Online Status Check: Applicants can visit the USCIS website and use the ‘Check Case Status’ tool. They will need their receipt number, which can be found on the notice they received after the application was accepted by USCIS.

  • Steps for online status check:
    • Visit USCIS Case Status Online.
    • Enter the receipt number in the provided field.
    • Click the ‘Check Status’ button to view the current application status.

USCIS Account: If they haven’t already, applicants can create a USCIS online account. This account offers a more detailed view of the case, including any next steps to be taken or additional information required.

  • To create or log into a USCIS account:
    1. Go to the USCIS account login page.
    2. Follow the instructions to either log in or create a new account.

Customer Service: For further assistance:

  • Applicants can contact the USCIS Contact Center at 1-800-375-5283.
  • For the deaf or hard of hearing, the TTY number is 1-800-767-1833.

Email Updates and Text Notifications: Applicants can request to receive automatic case status updates by email or text message. This option is available when checking the case status online or when creating a USCIS account.

Applicants should note that the USCIS occasionally experiences delays, and the processing times can fluctuate based on the volume of applications received.

Addressing Delays in DACA Processing

When recipients of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) experience delays in the processing of their renewal applications, they can take certain steps to mitigate the impact of these delays. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) aims to process DACA renewal requests generally within 120 days. Applicants are advised to apply at least 150 days before their current DACA status expires.

In situations where applications are delayed, recipients may face critical consequences, such as interruption of employment and uncertainty regarding their future in the United States. Here are important steps they can take:

  • Submit an Inquiry: If a renewal request has been pending for more than 105 days, individuals can submit an online inquiry to USCIS about the status of their renewal application.
  • Monitor Case Status: Applicants should regularly check their case status online, referencing the information provided in their receipt notice.

Factors that can affect processing times include volume of applications received, complexities of individual cases, and the need for additional evidence.

If Your Case Is Delayed: Action Steps:
More than 105 days pending Submit an online inquiry to USCIS.
Approaching or past expiration date Check online case status frequently and prepare for contingencies.

It’s essential for applicants to ensure their information is correct and to respond promptly to any USCIS requests for additional information, to avoid further delays.

Legal Considerations and Resources

When considering the processing times for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), it is crucial to navigate a dynamic legal landscape. Applicants need to be aware of several key legal considerations and resources:

  • Court Injunctions: Current court orders may affect processing times. For instance, a July 16, 2021 injunction and subsequent decisions have profound implications for both current and prospective DACA recipients.
  • Form I-821D: This is crucial for DACA consideration, accompanied by Form I-765 for Employment Authorization and Form I-765WS (Worksheet).

Resources available to DACA applicants include:

  • USCIS Official Website: Offers the most up-to-date information on DACA eligibility and processing.
  • Legal Aid Organizations: They can provide guidance and help navigate the legal complexities.
  • Immigration Lawyers: Experts in immigration law are vital for individual cases, especially those affected by injunctions.

Document Submissions and Processing:

  • Applicants should ensure accuracy in their submissions to avoid delays.
  • Estimated waiting times can range from weeks to months for application receipt acknowledgments and further processing.

Available Assistance:

  • USCIS FAQs: Addresses common concerns and clarifies guidelines.
  • Community Outreach Programs: Often provide assistance in completing and reviewing application forms.

DACA Litigation Updates:

  • Applicants should stay informed of court decisions as they can have immediate effects on eligibility and renewal processes.

Renewing DACA Status

Renewing the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) status is an important procedure for recipients to maintain their authorization to live and work in the United States legally. Individuals who currently have DACA status are advised to submit their renewal application approximately 150 to 120 days before their current DACA and Employment Authorization Document (EAD) expire.
The renewal process involves submitting the Form I-821D, Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, along with the Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, and the Form I-765WS.

Here is a brief overview of the steps involved in the renewal process:

  1. Check Your Eligibility: Confirm that you continue to meet the DACA guidelines.
  2. Prepare Your Documentation: Gather evidence of your continued residency in the U.S. and any other required documents.
  3. Complete the Forms: Fill out the required forms accurately.
  4. Submit the Application: Mail your application to the appropriate USCIS address along with the necessary fee.
  5. Attend Biometrics Appointment: USCIS will schedule an appointment for you to provide your fingerprints, photo, and signature.

Processing times for DACA renewals may vary, and applicants are encouraged to check the latest information available on the USCIS official website for updates.

Step Action Required
Eligibility Check Verify you meet the guidelines
Prepare Documentation Gather evidence of residency and other documents
Complete the Required Forms Form I-821D, I-765, and I-765WS
Submit the Application Send to USCIS with fee
Attend Biometrics USCIS will notify you of the appointment

It is important to keep track of the expiration date and renew timely to avoid lapses in legal status and employment authorization.

Impact of Processing Times on Recipients

The timeliness of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) application processing directly influences recipients’ lives. Extended processing times can result in several significant setbacks.

Legal Status and Work Authorization: When renewals are delayed, recipients may temporarily lose their legal status. This jeopardizes their ability to work legally, which can lead to income loss and financial strain.

  • Uncertainty and Stress: Long waits and the absence of clear timelines exacerbate psychological stress among recipients, who may be uncertain about their future in the U.S.
  • Education and Career Disruptions: Young immigrants might defer or abandon educational and career opportunities due to the ambiguity regarding their DACA status.

Access to Benefits:

Status Access to Benefits
Active DACA Eligible for certain benefits like driver’s licenses
Lapsed DACA Potential loss of benefits due to renewal delays

DACA processing times are more than administrative trivia; they tangibly affect lives. These delays can turn the futures of young immigrants into a waiting game, with personal, professional, and academic endeavors hanging in the balance.

DACA Processing Time FAQs

What is the current processing time for initial DACA applications?2024-01-01T05:38:27+00:00
As of the latest update, initial DACA application processing time varies. USCIS has not provided specific time frames, but historical data suggest that processing times can range from several weeks to several months.
How long does it take to process DACA renewal applications?2024-01-01T05:39:43+00:00
Renewal applications for DACA are often processed more quickly than initial applications. Applicants typically receive a response within several weeks to a few months. However, applicants should prepare for variation in processing times.
Have there been any recent changes to the DACA processing times?2024-01-01T05:41:10+00:00
Yes, there have been updates to the DACA final rule effective as of October 31, 2022. These changes could potentially affect processing times, either by streamlining some procedures or by introducing new steps.
What factors can affect my DACA processing time?2024-01-01T05:43:24+00:00

Several factors can influence processing times:

  • Application volume at the time of submission
  • The complexity of the individual case
  • Any required additional evidence or checks
Is there a way to check the status of my DACA application?2024-01-01T05:44:16+00:00

Applicants can check their application status through the USCIS online case status tool using their receipt number.

It is essential for applicants to submit their renewal applications well before their current DACA status expires to prevent lags in eligibility for employment authorization or protection from removal.

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