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What Is Deferred Enforced Departure

Written By The Shapiro Law Group on November 11, 2021

Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) applies to eligible residents of Hong Kong who have been present in the U.S. since August 5 of this year. In October, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) released a Federal Register notice detailing how these eligible immigrants could apply for employment authorization. On August 5, President Biden released a memorandum that directed DED for 18 months, which would end on February 5, 2023.

Who Is Eligible for DED?

Certain Hong Kong residents are eligible for DED if they were present in the U.S. as of August 5 and have continued to live in the country since that day. Additionally, qualifying Hong Kong residents must meet other criteria disclosed in the president’s memorandum

Hong Kong residents are considered individuals of any nationality or without one, and who have received a Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) passport, a Hong Kong Permanent Identity Card, an HKSAR Document of Identity for Visa Purposes, a British National Overseas passport, or a British Overseas Citizen Passport.

Residents Who Don’t Qualify

According to the president’s memorandum, some Hong Kong residents may not qualify for DED. These include those who:

  • Have voluntarily returned to Hong Kong or PRC following August 5
  • Have not continued to live in the U.S. since August 5
  • Are subject to extradition
  • Have been convicted of a felony or two or more misdemeanor offenses committed within the U.S.
  • Have been determined to be a danger to public safety or not in the interest of the U.S. by the Secretary of Homeland Security

How to Apply for DED

Qualifying Hong Kong residents don’t need to apply for DED. The president’s directive describes all eligibility requirements for DED, along with any pertinent implementing requirements that the Department of Homeland Security put into place.

If an individual qualifies for DED, he or she can apply for an Employment Authorization Document via submission of Form I-765, the Application for Employment Authorization. Additionally, qualifying Hong Kong residents covered under the memorandum can receive travel authorization. If these individuals wish to travel under DED, they need to submit Form I-131, the Application for Travel Document, which may grant them advance parole.

By taking the right steps and applying for employment documents in the U.S., many residents of Hong Kong may be able to benefit from DED if they have resided in the U.S. since August 5.