President Issues Executive Order on Hong Kong Normalization

July 20, 2020

What Happened?

President Trump issued an executive order erasing many of the distinctions that Hong Kong nationals receive as compared to Chinese nationals. Hong Kong nationals and passport holders will no longer receive much treatment that is different than mainland China nationals and passport holders. This has several impacts to immigration law and policy:

  • Immigrants who were born in Hong Kong will now be subject to the same immigrant visa backlog that affects immigrants born in China. This backlog is currently ranging from two to five years for employment-based cases but might lengthen in the future
  • Immigrants from Hong Kong will no longer be able to apply in a separate category from China in the diversity lottery
  • Hong Kong passport holders are also now subject to the same COVID-19 travel restrictions as China

The federal agencies were instructed to implement this order within 15 days of its publication, so the full effect of this order is expected no later than July 29. Timelines for implementation before this date are uncertain until the agencies make separate announcements.

Who Does This Impact?

Anyone born in Hong Kong and/or who has a Hong Kong passport. Also, anyone traveling from Hong Kong to the U.S.

How Are GIA And Envoy Responding?

We are assessing impact on active cases and monitoring the situation as it develops. More information on the timelines and implementation of this order should be available from the relevant U.S. government agencies by the end of July. Updates will be announced as more detail becomes available.

What Do I Need To Do Next?

If you were born in Hong Kong and/or have a Hong Kong passport, please contact your GIA legal team in the Communication Center for assistance in determining how this impacts your stay in the U.S. and future immigration plans. GIA will review the situation with you and your employer and advise accordingly. It is especially important to contact the legal team if you have upcoming travel plans or are currently outside the U.S.

Envoy is pleased to provide you this information, which was prepared in collaboration with Amber Davis, who is a Senior Associate at Global Immigration Associates, P.C.

Content in this publication is not intended as legal advice, nor should it be relied on as such. For additional information on the issues discussed, consult an Envoy-affiliated attorney or another qualified professional.

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