Effective immediately, the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will accept applications for the renewal of benefits for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients for an additional two years. Although it does not confer lawful status, DACA is a discretionary measure that grants eligible undocumented individuals who entered the United States as children protection from removal actions and the ability to apply for employment authorization. DACA was intended to protect children who through no fault of their own were brought to and raised in the United States, but remain on the fringes of society due to their lack of lawful status, in light of the failure of Congress to pass comprehensive immigration reform. The first DACA recipients' protections will begin to expire in September 2014. For this reason, the USCIS' announcement of the renewal process is a welcome one and will ensure that DACA recipients continue to receive protection as well as employment authorization after their current benefits expire.

As part of the renewal process, the USCIS has issued a new Form, I-821D, Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood, which applicants will submit with the Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, and the Form I-765W, Worksheet. Applicants should not file the current version of the Form I-821D as this will result in a rejection of the application. The USCIS has indicated that applicants can submit their materials 120 days prior to the expiration of their current DACA period. Individuals who meet the DACA eligibility requirements, but who have not previously applied, are welcome to apply at this time.

For Form I-9 purposes, employers are reminded that they should monitor the expiration of those employees whose employment authorization will expire and make a timely request to the employee to provide a new document evidencing a new period of employment authorization. This must be done by providing the employee with the most recent version of the Form I-9 Instructions which includes the List of Acceptable Documents. Employers must re-verify employment authorization before the employee's current authorization expires. Please contact us if you have any questions regarding the Form I-9, the employment eligibility verification process or the DACA renewal process.