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DHS Redesignates and Extends Special Student Relief Employment Benefits to Hong Kong Resident Students Experiencing Severe Economic Hardship

May 3: On May 3, 2023, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) posted a Federal Register Notice announcing the suspension of certain regulatory requirements for F-1 nonimmigrant students who are Hong Kong residents and are experiencing severe economic hardship as a result of the current crisis in Hong Kong. This notice redesignates Special Student Relief (SSR) to include eligible students who are in a lawful F-1 status as of Jan. 26, 2023, and extends relief until Feb. 5, 2025.

This notice will temporarily suspend applicable on-campus and off-campus employment regulations for eligible Hong Kong residents. The Federal Register notice defines a Hong Kong resident as an “individual of any nationality, or without nationality, who has met the requirements for, and been granted, a Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Passport, a British National Overseas Passport, a British Overseas Citizen Passport, a Hong Kong Permanent Identity card, or a Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) Document of Identity for Visa Purposes.” DHS will continue to monitor the situation in Hong Kong and will announce any additional modifications or extensions to this notice in the Federal Register.

These notices apply exclusively to F-1 nonimmigrant students who meet all of the following conditions:

  • Are Hong Kong residents, regardless of country of birth;
  • Are lawfully present in the United States in an F-1 nonimmigrant status on Jan. 26, 2023;
  • Are enrolled in a Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP)-certified school;
  • Are currently maintaining F-1 nonimmigrant status; and
  • Are experiencing severe economic hardship as a direct result of the current crisis in Hong Kong.

The suspension of these requirements will remain in effect until Feb. 5, 2025, for Hong Kong residents.

Please refer to the Hong Kong Federal Register Notice for more information regarding:

  • The specific SSR action effective with this notice;
  • Who is covered by these SSR actions;
  • Why DHS took these SSR actions; and
  • How to apply for employment authorization under this SSR action.

Additional information about this SSR and when eligible students may apply is available on the F-1 Special Student Relief Fact Sheet at and the What is Special Student Relief? infographic in the Study in the States Resource Library.