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President Biden Announces Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) for Hong Kong Residents


  • The president has designated Hong Kong for Deferred Enforced Departure (DED).
  • The DED order blocks the removal of certain Hong Kong residents from the United States for at least 18 months. The order instructs the Department of Homeland Security to take steps to provide employment authorization to eligible DED beneficiaries and relax employment rules for F-1 students from Hong Kong.
  • A forthcoming notice in the Federal Register will outline the requirements for the program and related benefits. 

Removal of Certain Hong Kong Residents Blocked for 18 Months

President Joe Biden has blocked the removal of certain Hong Kong residents from the United States for at least 18 months, according to a Presidential memorandum issued today. President Biden stated that a grant of Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) is necessary, citing “the significant erosion” of human rights and freedoms in Hong Kong by the People’s Republic China (PRC). 

The President has directed the Department of Homeland Security to take appropriate steps to defer for removal of any Hong Kong residents present in the United States as of August 5, 2021, and to provide employment authorization for eligible DED beneficiaries and expanded employment opportunities for F-1 students from Hong Kong. 

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 and Venezuela.

Pursuant to the presidential memorandum, certain residents of Hong Kong who were present in the United States on August 5, 2021 and remain continuously present may benefit from the DED grant.  Hong Kong residents who return to Hong Kong or the PRC after the date of the memorandum, have committed certain crimes, or present a national security threat, among others, may not be eligible under the program.

Looking ahead

A forthcoming Federal Register notice will provide instructions on how eligible foreign nationals should apply for DED protection and 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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