Who Is Eligible for Deferred Enforced Departure?

A protective remedy for countries undergoing political or civil strife.

If you are from a country that is in the midst of political or civil conflict, a possible way for you to legally remain in the U.S. is an immigration remedy called Deferred Enforced Departure (DED).

DED works much like another remedy called Temporary Protected Status (TPS), except that a decision to grant DED comes directly from the U.S. president, as a foreign relations consideration, rather than from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

This temporary form of relief allows its recipients to stay in the U.S. for a certain period of time and to work (after applying for and receiving an employment authorization document, also known as a work permit). Recipients may also apply for Advance Parole in order to return to the U.S. after travel outside the country. However, traveling back to the country from which you sought DED protection will destroy your eligibility.

Under present policy, only Liberia is designated for DED, through March 31, 2019. And only those Liberian citizens who were in the U.S. with TPS that expired on September 30, 2007 were eligible.

Keep your eyes on the news and on Nolo’s immigration updates to see whether this DED extension is further extended, or whether other countries are added to this list.

As a matter of law, DED protection does not extend to anyone:

  • who has been convicted of an aggravated felony
  • who is a persecutor of others
  • whose removal, in the opinion of the attorney general, is in the best interests of the United States
  • whose presence or activities in the U.S. are found by the secretary of state to have potentially serious adverse foreign policy consequences for the United States
  • who voluntarily returned or returns to his or her country of last habitual residence outside the United States
  • who was deported, excluded, or removed before December 23, 1997, or
  • who is subject to extradition.

For more information and for how to apply for work or travel authorization, see the Deferred Enforced Departure page of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) website.

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