If you are eligible to apply for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, you can file Form I-821D to request that U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services exercise discretion toward you and, essentially, exempt you from removal or deportation proceedings.
USCIS will consider this, known as “deferring action”, on a case-by-case basis and based on certain guidelines. If you receive deferred action, you will not be placed into removal proceedings or removed from the United States for a specified period of time.
IMPORTANT UPDATE – DECEMBER, 4, 2020: A federal judge ruled that first-time DACA applicants are permitted to apply, after the Trump administration stopped accepting new applications. Learn more here.
In this guide:
Form I-821D (officially called “Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals”) is used to apply for initial DACA status or to renew your existing DACA status. All individuals filing Form I-821D, whether for a new application or a renewal, must also file Form I-765 for work authorization, as well as the Form I-765 worksheet.
There are two initial application eligibility criteria. Applicants who are applying for DACA for the first time, and those applying for an extension of DACA status.
For a new application under the DACA process, you must meet these conditions.
For an application to renew your existing DACA status, you must meet the following eligibility criteria:
- You did not leave the United States on or after August 15, 2012 without advance parole (a travel permit from USCIS).
- You have continuously resided in the United States since you submitted your most recent request for DACA that was approved up to the present time.
- Have no felony convictions, a significant misdemeanor, or three or more misdemeanors, and do not pose a threat to national security or public safety.
Then there are a final few eligibility criteria for both application types, which mostly involve deportation and legal proceedings. To be eligible to file Form I-821D you must fall into one of these categories:
- Have never been in removal proceedings.
- Have been in removal proceedings but those proceedings were terminated by an immigration judge prior to your application.
- If you are in removal proceedings, have a final order of removal, exclusion, or deportation issued in any other context, have a voluntary departure order, or if your proceedings have been administratively closed, you may use this form to request that USCIS consider deferring action in your case.
- Have a deferred case and be seeking renewal of your DACA status.
has multiple sections, and does require significant evidence (although this will vary based on if you are applying for DACA for the first time or to renew your DACA).
The form contains seven parts, but some may not be applicable to you.
Part 1: Information about you
All applicants must complete this part. Along with biographic information, you must specify whether you are applying for an initial or renewal request for DACA status.
You must also outline your current immigration status, which includes whether or not you are in removal or deportation proceedings.
Part 2: Residence and travel information
All applicants must complete this part. New applicants must provide more extensive information than renewal applicants. This will include providing detailed information about our travel and residence history, so make sure you provide full and accurate answers.
You will also be asked to fill in information about your U.S. military service, if applicable.
Part 3. Information about your arrival in the United States
This is for initial applicants only and renewal applicants should skip this part. This part is about your arrival in the United States and information about when and how you came to the country.
Part 4: Criminal, national security, and public safety information
All applicants must complete this part, and answer questions related to criminal, national security, and public safety information. You must answer all questions truthfully and accurately.
Part 5: Statement, certification, signature, and contact information of the applicant
Here is where you sign and certify this form as accurate and true.
Part 6: Contact information, certification, and signature of the interpreter
If an interpreter helped you fill out the form, they will need to sign and provide their information here.
Part 7: Contact information, declaration, and signature of the person preparing this request, if other than the applicants
If you had someone else prepare your request, such as a lawyer, then they must complete this part.
Part 8: Additional information
You may complete this part if additional space is needed.
The kind of evidence you will have to provide depends on if you are applying for a new DACA status or renewing an existing one.
In both cases, however, you will need to provide all requested evidence along with your application, although the documents should be photocopies. If the documents are not in English, they will need to be translated as well.
You can find extensive information here on what supporting documents to provide, depending on the type of application you are submitting. If this is a new application, be prepared for a fairly lengthy set of paperwork requirements. This includes but is not limited to: evidence of your age, documents that show you came to the United States before your 16th birthday, proof that you have continuously resided in the United States since June 15th 2007 and present in the United States on June 15th 2012, and others.
These will be fairly extensive requests for evidence, and can involve many pages, so make sure you carefully read through the instructions and prepare your evidence to submit along with your application.
If you are applying to renew your status, the requirements for evidence depend more on whether your answers to any questions on the form have changed. If nothing has changed, USCIS will contact you if they require more evidence for your case.
However, USCIS lays out two specific instances where evidence will be required with form 821-D:
- You are currently in exclusion, deportation, or removal proceedings (USCIS notes that you do not need to submit these documents if your case was administratively closed).
- You have been charged with, or convicted of, a felony or misdemeanor.
If either of these two situations apply to you, make sure you include evidence of them with your renewal application.
You must file your form by mail and to a specific location depending on your U.S. state of residence. For more information, please see the USCIS guidance for where to file Form I-821D by mail.
After you mail your renewal or new application for DACA status, your form will be checked for completeness by USCIS. If you do not completely fill out the form, USCIS may deny or reject your request.
USCIS may also request more information or evidence, or that you appear at a USCIS office for an interview. They may also request that you provide the originals of any copies you submit.
USCIS will return these originals when they are no longer needed. If the same documents are required for both Form I-821D and Form I-765 that are filed together, the documents only have to be submitted once.
At the time of any interview or other appearance at a USCIS office, the federal agency may require that you provide biometrics information (for example, photograph, fingerprints, signature) to verify your identity and update your background information.
USCIS will review your application to determine whether the exercise of prosecutorial discretion is appropriate in your case. Each case will be considered on an individual, case-by-case basis.
Importantly, even if you satisfy the threshold criteria for consideration of DACA, USCIS may determine, in its unreviewable (which means you cannot appeal) discretion, that deferred action is not warranted in your case.
USCIS will notify you of the decision in writing when they have finished processing your case.