USCIS Extends Employment Authorization for Hong Kong Residents Covered by DED

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has recently published an important update regarding Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) for residents of Hong Kong in the Federal Register. The notice includes an extension and expansion of eligibility for DED, along with detailed instructions on how eligible Hong Kong residents can apply for Employment Authorization Documents (EADs).

On January 26, 2023, President Biden issued a memorandum that extended and expanded DED for specific Hong Kong residents for a period of 24 months. As a result, eligible Hong Kong residents who were covered under DED as of January 26, 2023, can now stay in the United States until February 5, 2025, and are eligible to work during their stay.

It is important to note that there is no separate application process for DED. Hong Kong residents are automatically covered under DED as per the terms outlined in the president’s directive. However, eligible individuals from Hong Kong can apply for an EAD by submitting Form I-765, commonly known as the Application for Employment Authorization.

Furthermore, the memorandum directs the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to extend employment authorization for Hong Kong residents under DED and ensure timely issuance of new or replacement documents when required. In line with this, USCIS will automatically extend the validity of Hong Kong DED-based EADs until February 5, 2025, for individuals who possess an EAD with an A-11 category code and an expiration date of February 5, 2023. It’s important to note that these EADs remain valid, despite the expiration date mentioned on the card. There is no need to apply for a new EAD to benefit from this automatic extension. However, if an individual wishes to obtain a new DED-based EAD with a Card Expires date of February 5, 2025, they must submit Form I-765.

In certain cases, the DHS has the discretion to grant travel authorization to individuals covered under DED for Hong Kong. If someone covered under DED wishes to travel outside the United States, they must file Form I-131, which is the Application for Travel Document, to request advance parole.

It is crucial for Hong Kong residents eligible for DED to stay informed about these updates and ensure compliance with the necessary forms and procedures to benefit from the extended and expanded eligibility.

What is Deferred Enforced Departure (DED)?

Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) is a discretionary authority exercised by the president to manage foreign relations. While DED does not grant a specific immigration status, it provides temporary protection to individuals, preventing their removal from the United States during a designated period.

The eligibility criteria for Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) are established by the president in each directive. These directives outline the requirements for individuals to be covered by DED and may also include exceptions for those who are not eligible.

DED currently covers Liberia, which has been extended until June 30, 2024, and Hong Kong, which has been extended until February 5, 2025.

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