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Hong Kong Residents in US Qualify for Deferred Enforced Departure

On August 5, 2021, President Joe Biden issued a memorandum granting Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) to certain Hong Kong residents—who were present in the United States as of August 5, 2021, and who have continuously lived in the country since that date—for 18 months, until February 5, 2023.

On October 20, 2021, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) issued a preliminary copy of the notice addressing DED for qualifying Hong Kong residents.

What is DED for Hong Kong Residents?

DED is a temporary form of relief from deportation/removal, which is granted by the U.S. president. During the 18-month period, qualifying non-U.S. citizen Hong Kong residents in the U.S. will not be deported/removed from the country and will be eligible for employment authorization (work permit) and advance parole (travel authorization) from the USCIS.

Why Did President Biden Grant DED Status to Hong Kong Residents?

The president’s decision was in response to China’s imposition of its National Security Law in Hong Kong, which has threatened the Hong Kong resident’s rights and freedoms. DED is generally granted to foreign nationals in the U.S. who might face danger, if they are required to return to their home country that is experiencing conflict, political instability, or other unsafe conditions.

Who Qualifies for Hong Kong DED?

You must be a Hong Kong resident, which is defined by the USCIS as “an individual of any nationality, or without nationality, who has met the requirement for, and been granted, a Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Passport, a British National Overseas Passport, a British Overseas Citizen Passport, a Hong Kong Permanent Identity card, or a Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) Document of Identity for Visa Purposes.”

Additionally, you must have been present in the U.S. on August 5, 2021, and have continuously resident in the country since August 5, 2021.

Who Does Not Qualify for Hong Kong DED?

The following individuals are NOT eligible for Hong Kong DED:

  • Individuals who have voluntarily returned to Hong Kong or the People’s Republic of China (PRC) after August 5, 2021
  • Individuals who have not continuously lived in the U.S. since August 5, 2021
  • Individuals who are inadmissible due to national security or terrorism concerns
  • Individuals who have been convicted of any felony or at least two misdemeanors in the U.S.
  • Individuals who are supposed to be extradited from the U.S.
  • Individuals who would be banned from receiving asylum due to criminal, terrorism, or related grounds
  • Individuals who the U.S. government believes should not be allowed in the U.S. or presents a danger to public safety
  • Individuals whose presence in the U.S. will negative impact the government’s relationship with other countries

How to Apply for Hong Kong DED

There is no application for DED. Rather, you must submit documents to prove that you were present in the U.S. on August 5, 2021, and have continuously lived in the country since then.

The following are examples of documents (copies) to submit to establish presence/continuously resident:

  • Passport
  • Form I-94 (Arrival-Departure Record)
  • Employment records
  • Receipts for rent and utility bills
  • Bank account statements
  • Social Security card
  • Affidavits
  • Letters submitted by unions, churches, or organizations of the applicant’s residence
  • Selective Service card
  • Birth certificates of U.S.-born children
  • Money order receipts for money sent in or out of the U.S.

How to Apply for Work Authorization

If you qualify for Hong Kong DED, you will also be eligible for an Employment Authorization Document (EAD), which is valid until February 5, 2023.

You must file the following petition and documents to apply for an EAD:

  • Form I-765 (Application for Employment Authorization) for $410, unless you have a fee waiver
  • Two color passport-style photos
  • Evidence of your identity and nationality
  • Evidence of being a Hong Kong resident
  • Evidence you have been present and continuously living in the U.S. since August 5, 2021

If you are Hong Kong resident who is interested in obtaining DED in Costa Mesa or Orange County, CA, call the Law Offices of Joyce Komanapalli Jones at (949) 264-0323 or fill out our online contact form today to schedule a free consultation.