U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has released clarified policy guidance in the USCIS Policy Manual regarding the validity period of employment authorization for F-1 nonimmigrant students under Special Student Relief (SSR) provisions. This clarification addresses situations of severe economic hardship due to emergent circumstances.
The update specifies that in cases of severe economic hardship arising from emergent circumstances, USCIS may grant off-campus SSR employment authorization to F-1 nonimmigrant students for the entire validity period stated in the Federal Register notice.
However, this employment authorization cannot extend beyond the student's academic program end date. The policy notes that employment authorization documents may be issued for the duration of the Federal Register notice, typically an 18-month validity period as outlined in the relevant SSR Federal Register notice.
Emergent circumstances encompass events impacting F-1 nonimmigrant students from a specific region, causing severe economic hardship. Examples include natural disasters, financial crises, and military conflicts.
Effective upon publication, this policy update applies to all pending and future applications for SSR employment authorization, providing clarity on the duration of employment authorization for F-1 nonimmigrant students facing severe economic hardship due to emergent circumstances.