USCIS SPECIAL STUDENT RELIEF PROGRAM


USCIS SPECIAL STUDENT RELIEF PROGRAM
(For students from Indonesia, Korea, Malaysia, the Philippines and Thailand)

On June 10, 1998, the U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services Office (USCIS) published interim regulations, known as the "Special Student Employment Relief Employment Authorization & Benefits" designed to assist those F-1 visa international students whose funding comes from certain Southeast and East Asian countries (Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, South Korea and Thailand).

This action was necessary because students whose primary means of financial support comes from countries that are experiencing SEVERE ECONOMIC HARDSHIP. The interim rule allows the USCIS to actually temporarily suspend certain current economic hardship regulations governing on and off-campus employment authorization thereby permitting eligible students to work more than 20 hours per week (on or off-campus) and to reduce their full-course of study without violating their F-1 student status.

GENERAL REQUIREMENTS:
1. Students are eligible to apply for full-time on and/or off-campus employment authorization if their primary source of funding comes from Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, South Korea or Thailand.
2. Students must be in good academic standing (2.0 GPA for undergraduates/3.0 GPA for graduates).
3. Students must be in good standing with the USCIS (must not be "out-of-status").
4. Students are not required to have a job offer before applying for this type of work authorization.
5. The job is not restricted to the student's major field of study.
6. This type of work permission does not affect Practical Training.
7. Students authorized for full-time on or off-campus employment do not need to enroll in a full course of study. However, they are required to enroll in (and complete) a minimum of 6 units (undergraduates) or 3 units (graduates) of regular university coursework (not through the College of Extended Learning) each Fall & Spring Semester.
8. In order to be eligible for these special benefits, students must have obtained F-1 student status (either by entry into the U.S. or by change of status) and engaged in studies on or before June 10, 1998.
9. Special Student Relief Employment authorization is no longer valid when a student transfers to another school.
10. Although students enrolled in non-degree certificate programs and intensive English language programs are eligible to apply for full-time on and/or off-campus employment authorization, they are not eligible for a reduced course load.
11. Students who leave the U.S. for a period of five months or more and then re-entered the U.S. (after June 10, 1998) are not eligible for Special Student Relief benefits.

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