75 FR 56120 (September 15, 2010) - Special Student Relief Notice For Haitian Students In F-1 Status

On September 15, 2010, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) published a Federal Register notice that provides "special student relief" benefits under 8 CFR 214.2(f)(5) [F-1 duration of status], 8 CFR 214.2(f)(6)(A) and (B) [full course of study], and 8 CFR 214.2(f)(9)(i) and (ii) [employment eligibility], for F-1 students who are Haitian citizens.

Last invoked in 1998 for students impacted by the Asian economic crisis, the special student relief provisions allow DHS to suspend certain rules governing full course of study and employment authorization, for students who meet the specific provisions of a notice published in the Federal Register.

The September 15, 2010 notice provides benefits until July 22, 2011. To qualify for benefits under the notice, an F-1 student must be a citizen of Haiti, have been in F-1 status on January 12, 2010, currently be maintaining F-1 status, and experiencing "severe economic hardship as a direct result of the January 12, 2010 earthquake in Haiti." Undergraduate and graduate students who obtain special student relief employment authorization are also eligible to reduce their courseload according to the guidelines in the notice. The notice also discusses the interface of Haitian Temporary Protected Status (TPS) with special student relief benefits.

On September 17, 2010, SEVP provided policy guidance in the form of a Q&A to address various aspects of the Haitian special student relief program.