On Dec. 9, 2022, the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) published a Special Student Relief (SSR) notice for Ethiopian students. The Federal Register notice was published Dec. 12, 2022. To be eligible, an F-1 student must:
- Be a citizen of Ethiopia, regardless of country of birth (or be an individual having no nationality who last habitually resided in Ethiopia);
- Have been lawfully present in the United States in F-1 nonimmigrant status on Dec. 12, 2022;
- Be currently maintaining F-1 nonimmigrant status;
- Be enrolled in an SEVP-certified academic institution; and
- Be experiencing severe economic hardship “as a direct result of the ongoing crisis in Ethiopia”
In summary, Ethiopian students meeting the conditions above may apply for on-campus or off-campus work authorization for severe economic hardship due to circumstances back home. This suspends the regulatory requirements for such authorizations, allowing work over the 20 hour/week limit while enrolling part-time if needed. Undergraduates will have to maintain at least 6 credit hours per term, while graduate students must maintain at least 3 credit hours. Students must be working in order to receive a reduced course load authorization. Students must apply for this benefit.
For details of this SSR and to apply, students should first make an appointment with an ISS advisor to determine eligibility and to receive the authorization.