Since the President’s July 14, 2020 Executive Order on Hong Kong Normalization there has been much concern and confusion about whether and how the Executive Order impacts persons born in Hong Kong. The issue is whether the Executive Order makes individuals born in Hong Kong subject to visa chargeability of mainland born Chinese. If the Executive Order does indeed have this effect, it would cause many visa applicants born in Hong Kong to have to wait many years for visas to become available.

At the American Immigration Lawyers Association (“AILA”) 2020 Annual Conference in mid-July, the Department of State (“DOS”) Visa Office indicated in a DOS Open Forum that it is still reviewing the implications of the Executive Order on Hong Kong and its impact on visa chargeability, but noted that Hong Kong’s status is derived from the 1990 Immigration Act. Under §103 of the 1990 Immigration Act, Hong Kong is treated as separate from Mainland China for purposes of the number of immigrant visas available. The DOS emphasized that if that legislation remains in place, Hong Kong born individuals should continue to be counted in accordance with the existing statute and not have to wait for visas availability with mainland born Chinese.

It is important to note that the guidance provided during the DOS Open Forum is not considered official State Department guidance. The State Department has not yet provided any official statement to the public about the agency’s interpretation.

If you are an individual born in Hong Kong and have an approved or pending immigrant visa petition, contact one of our U.S. immigration lawyers in Ho Chi Minh City, Manila or Taipei if you have further questions about your eligibility to apply for your visa.

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Copyright 2020. This article is for information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. This article may be changed with or without notice. The opinions expressed in this article are those of Enterline and Partners only.