U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has released policy guidance 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 authorized to work under the SSR provisions. The guidance applies to all pending and future applications for SSR employment authorization as of February 22, 2023, the date the guidance was published.

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

USCIS said that 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.”

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