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President Biden Extends and Expands Deferred Enforced Departure for Hong Kong

President Biden has approved a two-year extension for Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) for eligible Hong Kong residents. The President has also authorized an expansion of DED to cover eligible Hong Kong residents who arrived in the United States after the initial DED designation was announced in August 2021.

A closer look

In a Memorandum issued yesterday, President Biden announced that Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) for Hong Kong residents – which was set to expire on February 5, 2023 – is being extended for an additional two-year period. The Presidential Memorandum also expands Hong Kong DED to cover eligible Hong Kong residents who arrived in the United States after the initial grant of DED was announced on August 5, 2021.

This DED extension and redesignation provides eligible Hong Kong residents who are concerned about returning to Hong Kong with temporary safe haven in the United States. DED beneficiaries are also eligible to apply for employment authorization.

Eligibility criteria

Pursuant to the Presidential Memorandum, certain residents of Hong Kong who were present in the United States on January 26, 2023 and have continuously resided in the United States since that date may benefit from this extension and expansion of DED. Eligible Hong Kong residents include those who arrived in the United States after the initial August 5, 2021 DED designation, as well as those who were covered under the initial grant of DED. Hong Kong residents who return to Hong Kong or the PRC after January 26, 2023, have committed certain crimes, or present a national security threat, among others, may not be eligible under the program.

A forthcoming Federal Register notice will provide additional guidance on eligibility criteria and the process to apply for initial or renewed employment authorization.   

Background on DED and its related benefits

Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) is not a specific immigration status but rather is a discretionary grant of protection that can be issued only by a president as part of their constitutional power to conduct foreign relations. It is used in very limited instances.

Individuals covered by DED are not subject to removal from the United States for a certain period of time and typically may request employment authorization during the designation period. In addition to Hong Kong, DED is currently available to residents of Liberia.

Looking ahead

USCIS will be issuing a forthcoming Federal Register notice with instructions on how eligible foreign nationals should apply for initial or renewed DED employment authorization. Hong Kong residents who believe they are eligible for DED are encouraged to apply after the notice is issued.

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