Special Student Relief

On This Page: OverviewEligibilityHow to ApplyCurrent SSR Programs


Special Student Relief (SSR) is a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) provision that temporarily suspends specific regulations for F-1 students from areas facing emergent circumstances such as conflict, natural disaster and economic crises. This regulatory flexibility allows students to reduce their course load and to work over 20 hours in on-campus positions or apply for an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) to work off-campus.


To qualify for SSR, you must meet the following criteria as specified by DHS through a Federal Register notice:

  • Citizen of a country listed in the SSR notice
  • Lawful residence in the U.S. as of the date listed in the Federal Register Notice
  • Enrolled full-time at University of Arizona
  • Maintaining of F-1 status as a student (not on OPT)
  • Experiencing severe economic hardship as a direct result of the emergent circumstances

How to Apply

An international student advisor must verify your eligibility in the SEVIS and issue an updated I-20 confirming your eligibility for SSR.


  1. Meet with an international student advisor to determine your eligibility for SSR. Email an advisor to schedule an appointment:
  2. Submit the Special Student Relief e-form in MyGlobal, including a detailed letter explaining how you are experiencing severe economic hardship as a direct result of the crisis mentioned in the relevant notice. Be sure to include the following:
    • Why employment is necessary to avoid severe economic hardship
    • Why the hardship is a direct result of the situation specified in the SSR notice
  3. If you are requesting off-campus employment authorization, you must apply for and obtain authorization by filing Form I-765 with USCIS.  

Special Considerations:

  • University Enrollment Policies: SSR does not waive the minimum unit enrollment requirements for on-campus employment or university scholarships.
  • Final Adjudication by USCIS: If applying for off-campus work authorization, a recommendation by ISS for Special Student Relief does not guarantee that your application will be approved by USCIS.
  • Employment Authorization Document (EAD): If applying for off-campus work authorization, you must wait to receive your EAD from the USCIS before engaging in off-campus employment.

Current SSR Programs






Hong Kong 

Palestinian Territories



South Sudan