Deferred Enforced Departure Status Granted to Residents of Hong Kong Currently in the U.S.

August 5, 2021 Residents of Hong Kong currently in the U.S. will be temporarily protected from removal (deportation), by a presidential grant of "Deferred Enforced Departure" or DED, lasting 18 months.

By , J.D.


Residents of Hong Kong who are currently in the U.S. will be temporarily protected from removal (deportation), President Biden announced via an August, 2021 memo. They will be granted a quasi-status known as "Deferred Enforced Departure" or DED, for a period of 18 months starting August 5, 2021. This DED grant will come with the possibility of applying for employment authorization (a work permit or EAD).

The President made this move in response to China having unilaterally imposed its law on Hong Kong, thus undermining Hong Kong residents' enjoyment of the rights and freedoms protected under the Sino-British Joint Declaration.

There will be exceptions, however, or situations where Hong Kong residents will not be allowed DED protection in the United States, including for anyone who:

  • voluntarily returns to Hong Kong or the PRC after the date of the president's memo (August 5, 2021)
  • has not continuously resided in the United States since the date of the memo
  • is considered inadmissible to or deportable from the U.S.
  • has been convicted of any felony or two or more misdemeanors committed in the United States, or who meets any of the criteria set forth in I.N.A. 208(b)(2)(A), 8 U.S.C. 1158(b)(2)(A))
  • is subject to extradition
  • presents a danger to public safety, or whose presence in the United States is not in its national interest, or would have potentially serious adverse foreign policy consequences.

For details, including an application process for Hong Kong residents in the U.S. to follow in order to obtain a work permit (Employment Authorization Document or EAD), see the October 19, 2021 Federal Register notice. Applying for an EAD involves submitting USCIS Form I-765. When filling it out, enter "(a)(11)" in response to Question 27, to indicate you are covered by DED.

Also realize that this DED grant offers no protection to people who might wish to come to the U.S. later, after the memo was issued.

Effective Date: August 5, 2021