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USCIS Issues Clarifying Guidance for F-1 Students Authorized to Work Under Special Student Relief Provisions

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U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services is issuing policy guidance in the USCIS Policy Manual to clarify the validity period of employment authorization for F-1 nonimmigrant students experiencing severe economic hardship due to emergent circumstances (also known as special student relief (SSR)) who are work authorized under the SSR provisions of 8 CFR.

The update clarifies that in cases of severe economic hardship due to emergent circumstances, we may grant off-campus SSR employment authorization to an F-1 nonimmigrant student for the duration of the Federal Register notice validity period. This employment authorization may not extend past the student’s academic program end date. This update notes that we may issue employment authorization documents for the duration of the Federal Register notice, which is typically an 18-month validity period, as permitted by the relevant SSR Federal Register notice.

Emergent circumstances are events that affect F-1 nonimmigrant students from a particular region and create severe economic hardship. These events may include, but are not limited to, natural disasters, financial crises, and military conflicts.

This policy update will be effective when published and will apply to all pending and future applications for SSR employment authorization.

For more information, see the policy update (PDF, 313.07 KB).

This article is provided as an educational service and is not legal advice. Consult with an attorney for your specific circumstances.  For a comprehensive evaluation of your immigration situation and options, 

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