President Joe Biden today signed a memorandum that defers the removal of certain Hong Kong residents who are currently living in the U.S.

Key Points:

  • Beginning Aug. 5, the U.S. will defer the removal of Hong Kong residents for 18 months, except for individuals who:
    • Have voluntarily returned to Hong Kong or the People’s Republic of China (PRC) after Aug. 5, 2021.
    • Have not continuously lived in the U.S. since Aug. 5, 2021.
    • Are inadmissible under the Immigration and Nationality Act.
    • Have been convicted of any felony or two or more misdemeanors in the U.S.
    • Are subject to extradition.
    • Are considered a present danger to public safety or have potentially serious adverse foreign policy consequences for the U.S. if they remain in the country.
  • Hong Kong residents whose removal has been deferred may seek employment authorization through U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

Additional information: Official statements by both the Biden Administration and the Department of Homeland Security said that this decision was made to offer safety and protection to Hong Kong residents amid an “ongoing assault on democracy, and rights and freedoms in Hong Kong by the People’s Republic of China.” More information about Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) can be found on the USCIS website.

BAL Analysis: The Department of Homeland Security is expected to issue instructions in the coming days on how eligible foreign nationals may apply for Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) and employment authorization documents (EADs). BAL will continue to monitor these developments and will provide updates as they become available.

This alert has been provided by the BAL U.S. Practice group. For additional information, please contact

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