USCIS to Issue Guidance for F-1 Special Student Relief Provisions

Last Updated on February 26, 2023

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will update the USCIS Policy Manual to clarify the employment authorization validity period for F-1 students experiencing economic hardship due to emergent circumstances, or special student relief (SSR).  


Students impacted by SSR and authorized to work under the SSR provisions of 8 CFR may now receive off-campus SSR employment authorization through USCIS. This temporary authorization will last through the Federal Register notice validity period and may not extend beyond the time the student’s academic program ends. Typically, the SSR work authorization period has an 18-month validity period.  F-1 visa holders should contact their Designated School Official (DSO) to assess eligibility and impact of this announcement in their specific case.  

F-1 students may qualify for “emergent circumstances” if they are from certain regions and experiencing severe economic hardship due to a financial crisis, military conflicts and natural disasters, among other problems.  

Looking Ahead  

This policy will take effect when it is published by USCIS. It will apply to all pending and future SSR employment authorization applications. Updates will be provided when the policy update is published.   


Envoy is pleased to provide you this information, which was prepared in collaboration with Louis Massard and Manish Gupta, who are a Partner and Managing Attorney, respectively, at Global Immigration Associates (GIA), one of the two independent U.S. law firms Envoy exclusively works with on the Envoy Platform (the "U.S. Law Firms").         

Content in this publication is for informational purposes only and not intended as legal advice, nor should it be relied on as such. For additional information on the issues discussed, consult an attorney at one of the two U.S. Law Firms working with the Envoy Platform or another qualified professional. On non-U.S. immigration issues, consult an Envoy global immigration service provider or another qualified representative.