Filling Out Form I-821D, "Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals"

Line-by-line instructions for filling out the DACA application form as a first-time applicant or if renewing.

By , J.D.

Everyone applying for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), whether for the first time or as a renewal, must fill out Form I-821D, Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. Filling out this form means that you are asking U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to exercise its discretion and allow you to stay in the U.S. temporarily, until either your DACA application is approved or renewed, you become eligible for another form of relief, your DACA status expires, or USCIS terminates your deferral.

These instructions are for the Form I-821D that was revised on April 24, 2019, and set to expire April 30, 2021.

Several Forms Are Needed for a Complete DACA Application

USCIS will not grant you deferred action if you submit only Form I-821D. You must also submit Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, the Form I-765WS worksheet, and all applicable fees.

Plan ahead: If filing for a DACA renewal, you should submit your request to USCIS within a specific time window; that is, 120 to 150 days before the date that your initial DACA approval will expire. Do not submit your renewal application more than 150 days from the expiration of your deferred action period. USCIS estimates that it will take 120 days for a DACA renewal application to be approved.

How to Fill Out Form I-821D

This discussion will address both DACA renewals and submitting an initial application. (The latter was impossible for much of the Trump Administration's four years in office, but once again became possible with the January 2021 entry of the Biden Administration.)

Be sure to fill out each item as completely and accurately as possible, including stating "N/A" or "Not Applicable" for any item that does not apply to you. That will help ensure that USCIS makes a timely decision on your application. Don't leave any dates blank—if you can't remember an exact date, give your best guess.

Part 1. Information About You

In this section, you must certify that you are not currently in immigration detention and that you are including all forms necessary to process your DACA application. Assuming you have already been granted deferred action and would like to extend it, check the box that says "Renewal Request" (Line 2) and write the date that your current deferral period expires in the box in the requested format.

Questions 3a through 3c: In these boxes, type or print your full legal name. This is likely the name that appears on your passport, birth certificate, or identification card. If your name is now different than the name on these documents, you must submit proof that your name legally has been changed, such as a marriage certificate or court document indicating the name change.

Questions 4a through 4e: Enter your current mailing address. Since USCIS will mail all notices and requests for more information to this address, this should be the home where you currently live or an address where you will be certain to receive mail.

Questions 5 through 5g: Check the "No" box if you have never been in removal (deportation) proceedings and have never received an order of removal. Check the "Yes" box if you have ever attempted to enter the U.S. at the border and been turned away or if you have entered the U.S. (either with or without authorization) and then have been removed by U.S. immigration authorities. If you check the "Yes" box, then you must check one of the boxes in 5a through 5e, so that USCIS can determine whether you are currently in proceedings or what was the outcome of past removal proceedings. You must also fill in the date that you last appeared in immigration court and the city and state where the court is located (Lines 5f and 5g).

Question 6: Alien Registration Number. Your "A-Number" is the nine digit number following the letter "A" that appears on every form sent to you from USCIS. Fill that in here. When applying to renew DACA, you will definitely have an A-number, issued to you on your approval notice.

Question 7: If you have been assigned a U.S. Social Security Number, write that nine-digit number here. If not, write "None." If you have ever used a Social Security Number that was not been assigned specifically in your name, do not write that number in this box.

Question 8: Fill in your date of birth here in the format required. This date should match the birth date listed on your birth certificate, passport, and any other official identification documents.

Question 9: Check the box indicating your gender. USCIS advises that if you do not identify with a specific gender, you should check the gender that you were assigned at birth and is shown on your birth certificate.

Questions 10a – 10b: Type or print the city or town and country where you were born.

Question 11: Fill in the name of the country where you currently live. This should be the United States: In order to be eligible for DACA, you must be present in the U.S. on the date that you apply for DACA.

Question 12: State the country where you are currently a citizen or national. This is likely the country that has issued your passport or other identification documents.

Question 13: Check the box that best describes your marital status. If you are separated, but not legally divorced, check "Married" and be sure to explain this in Part 8 – Additional Information.

Questions 14a-14c: If you have ever used or been known by names other than your legal name, write these in here. If there are multiple names, be sure to list them all in Part 8 – Additional Information.

Question 15: Check only one box, indicating whether or not you are Hispanic or Latino.

Question 16: Check the boxes that reasonably apply to you. If you are multiracial, you can check as many boxes as describe you.

Questions 17-20: Enter accurate information about your current eye and hair color.

Part 2. Residence and Travel Information.

Question 1: Check the box that accurately states whether you have been living continuously in the U.S. from June 15, 2007 through the current date. Remember that in order to be eligible for DACA, you must be able to honestly state (and prove) that you have lived in the U.S., with only brief trips abroad, since June 15, 2007, and in particular did not leave without advance parole after August 15, 2012.

Questions 2a-2e: Fill in the address where you currently live and the date that you first moved there. This must be your actual home address, where you reside. Unlike in Part 1, Line 4, this cannot be just a mailing address.

Questions 3-5: Renewal applicants need to list (starting with the most recent address first) only their addresses since their last DACA renewal.

Questions 6-7: If you have not left the U.S. since June 15, 2007, write "N/A" in each of these boxes. If you have left the U.S. for any reason since the date your last DACA application was approved, list the departure/return dates and the reason for your trip, here. If you need additional room, use Part 8.

Question 8: Indicate whether you have left the U.S. without advance parole, which is an immigration document issued by USCIS to allow you reentry into the U.S. after a brief departure. Check "No" if you requested and received advance parole using Form I-131, Application for Travel Document and used this document to reenter the United States. If you have received an immigration benefit such as an initial DACA request, Temporary Protected Status, or applied for adjustment of status, you might have also applied for advance parole at the same time, perhaps without realizing it. If you travel outside the U.S. without advance parole on or after August 15, 2012, you might not be eligible for DACA renewal.

Question 9a-9c: Fill in the country that issued your last passport, the passport number, and expiration date here.

Question 10: If you are a Mexican national and were legally admitted to the U.S. as a B1/B2 visitor when you first entered; even if that status has since expired; you might have been issued a Border Crossing Card (BCC). If so, enter that number here. If not, enter "None" or "N/A."

Part 3. For Initial Requests Only.

If you are submitting a renewal application, you can skip this section. If this is your first application, answer these questions carefully, as they will be used to judge your basic eligibility.

Question 1: Your answer must be 'yes' in order to qualify for DACA.

Question 2: Be sure your date of entry backs up your claim of having been under age 16 upon entry.

Question 3: Name the border crossing point or nearest U.S. city. It's okay to describe an approximate location if you do not know the exact one.

Question 4: The reason this asks for your immigration status on June 15, 2012 is that for eligibility purposes, you need to have been physically present in the U.S. on that date (as well as when you apply for DACA).

Questions 5.a through 5.c: You would have been issued an I-94 or other arrival or departure record if you either entered the U.S. with a visa or, at some later point, applied for some immigration status that allowed you to leave and return with an Advance Parole travel document. (If renewing DACA, you might have been issued Advance Parole on that basis.)

Questions 6 through 9. These concern the DACA educational requirements, namely that you are either in school (unless absent for emergency reasons), have graduated or earned a certificate of completion from an accredited high school, have obtained a general education development (GED) certificate, or are an honorably discharged veteran of the U.S. Coast Guard or Armed Forces.

Part 4. Criminal, National Security and Public Safety Information.

In order to be eligible for DACA, you must not have been convicted of a felony, a significant misdemeanor, or three or more misdemeanors. You must not pose a threat to national security or public safety. This section asks questions about each of these issues.

If you have questions about whether you were convicted of a misdemeanor or felony, consult with an immigration attorney with experience in criminal law matters. DACA applicants with any criminal background or who must check "Yes" on any of the questions in this section are strongly advised to consult with an immigration attorney before applying.

Question 1: If you have ever been arrested at any time and for any reason other than a minor traffic violation (such as speeding), check "Yes." Then, submit any and all documents relating to that arrest with your DACA application. These can include formal charging documents, as well as certified copies of the disposition and sentence, which can be ordered from the court clerk where you were arrested or charged. Even if you have been arrested and/or charged with up to two misdemeanors, you might still be eligible to receive deferred action, but again, you should consult with an attorney first.

Question 2: If you were ever arrested for, charged with, or convicted of any crime in any country outside of the U.S., check "Yes." Request and submit the applicable documents, as listed above.

Questions 3-7: Check the box indicating your answer to each. To provide further explanation for any of these questions, be sure to check one box then provide additional information in Part 8.

Part 5. Statement, Certification, Signature, and Contact Information of the Requestor.

Questions 1a-1b: Check the box that applies to you. If it applies, you may check box 1a even if another person, including an attorney, has prepared this form for you. If you've received any assistance from an interpreter, check box 1b and fill in the language that you speak fluently.

Questions 2a-5: Sign and date Lines 2a-2b yourself, even if another person has assisted you in preparing Form I-821D. Then, fill in at least one telephone number and an email address (if you have one) in Lines 3-5.

Part 6. Contact Information, Certification, and Signature of the Interpreter.

If an interpreter has read Form I-821D to you or prepared the form for you, that person must put his or her information, including dated signature, here. If you prepare this form by yourself, write "N/A" on each of the Lines in Part 6.

Part 7. Contact Information, Declaration, and Signature of the Person Preparing this Request, If Other than the Requestor.

If anyone other than the person who wants to receive DACA has prepared Form I-821D, fill in that person's information in Part 7. The preparer can be an attorney, friend, or relative. If you have prepared this form for yourself, be sure to write "N/A" on each of the lines in Part 7.

Part 8. Additional Information.

If there is any question on this form that you did not have the space to answer fully and completely, use Part 8 to do so. This might include any additional names you have used, any additional addresses you have lived at, or any explanations regarding any arrests, charges, or convictions you may have received.

For each item that you are adding an explanation, be sure to list the page number (found in the bottom right-hand corner of each sheet), the part number, and the item (or line) number to which you are referring.

If you are including additional information for more than three items, you may make as many copies of this page as you need in order to write your answers. Just be sure to sign and date each page at the bottom.

Include Additional Evidence to Support Your Application

First-time DACA applicants will need to document their eligibility following the instructions that come with Form I-821D.

If renewing your DACA, you do not need to resubmit documents you did before, as USCIS still has your original submission on file. However, if you have any new documents; for example, if your name has changed or if you have new criminal arrests or convictions; mail copies of these to USCIS with your application for renewal.

Make sure to keep copies of each of the forms and documents you submit, just in case USCIS asks you for them again.

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