The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program allows certain undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. as children to apply for temporary relief from deportation and become eligible to work legally in the country. The processing of this application varies from year to year but is generally completed within five to 14 months.
United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is currently only processing renewal applications under the DACA program. Renewal applications are typically processed more quickly. At New Frontier Immigration Law, our team of Phoenix immigration lawyers can help you complete and submit your renewal application.
Processing Times for DACA Applications Can Vary Significantly
The amount of time that it takes USCIS to process a DACA application can vary depending on a variety of factors, including:
- The volume of applications received
- Staffing at the USCIS facility where the application is being processed
- Whether dealing with an initial or a renewal application
- If any mistakes were made on the application
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Processing of New DACA Applications
Ever since DACA was first established in June 2012, it has faced legal challenges. Those who receive benefits and protections under DACA have never been on firm footing, and the possibility of a revocation of their rights has remained a looming fear. In 2017, the Trump administration announced the phasing out of DACA.
The status of the DACA program has swung back and forth in the years since. In October 2022, the Department of Homeland Security’s final rule on DACA took effect. This rule made no substantive changes to the DACA program. However, it helped to put it on firmer legal ground and provided it with slightly more protection against legal challenges.
While DACA recipients can still renew their status, new applications are not being processed. However, USCIS is still accepting applications, which it will begin to process if and when a legal change to the status of the program allows it to begin permitting new applicants to join.
Plan Your Filing Around the Maximum Application Processing Time
When filing your DACA application, you need to allow plenty of time for your application to be processed. File your application based on the maximum processing time rather than the average processing time to ensure that your status under the program does not lapse.
DACA enrollment must be renewed every two years. With renewal applications sometimes taking more than a year to complete, those in the program are essentially in a constant state of renewal, submitting the next application shortly after the previous application is approved.
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What to Do If Your Application Is Taking Too Long
If the processing of your application is unusually delayed beyond the listed time frames without explanations, individuals can proactively make courteous status inquiries by calling USCIS customer service. Representatives should be able to check for processing issues as a next step.
Applicants can also request case reviews if outside normal processing times using established USCIS procedures. If you don’t receive any substantive information about your application or see movement in the renewal process, contacting an experienced immigration attorney may be your best option.
An immigration lawyer can petition USCIS on your behalf and help ensure that your application is being processed correctly and without unnecessary delays.
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Follow the Status of Your DACA Application Online
To stay up-to-date, USCIS suggests creating an online account and enrolling in receipt notifications, so requests receive automatic processing progress alerts. Utilizing available tools like these can help keep you informed about the status of your application and help you avoid missing important interview date notices that could otherwise extend timelines inadvertently.
While waiting understandably causes stress for applicants and their families, processing durations aim for reasonable fairness and consistency across government agencies handling rising immigration caseloads.
Barring any clear mishandling indicators, most DACA requests typically reach conclusions close to estimated time frames as long as applicants fulfill duties attentively. Continuing patience through formal communication outlets best serves overall case resolutions.
Benefits Provided by DACA
Although the DACA program does not grant permanent status, those enrolled receive continued legal presence and a work permit while in the program. While the uncertainty of the long-term status for those enrolled in the DACA program can be stressful, these benefits can provide tremendous quality-of-life improvements for as long as they remain in effect.
Get Help With Your DACA Application from an Experienced Immigration Lawyer
An experienced immigration attorney can help with the filing of your application as well as dealing with any potential issues that may arise. At New Frontier Immigration Law, we have helped countless DACA applicants through the process.
Contact us today by phone or through our website to schedule a free consultation with a member of our legal team.