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Special Student Relief

Eligibility for SSR | Current Countries with Special Student Relief | How to Apply

“Special Student Relief (SSR) is a suspension of certain regulatory requirements by the secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) for an F-1 student from parts of the world that are experiencing emergent circumstances.” – Study in the States

There are times when the U.S. government acts to support international students impacted by natural disasters, wars and military conflicts, and national and international financial crises. When the Department of Homeland Security issues a Federal Register Notice authorizing special student relief, students are allowed to apply for work authorization and, once approved, may enroll in fewer credits each quarter.

Eligibility for SSR

  • Student must be a citizen of a country specified in a Federal Register Notice.
  • Have lawfully resided in the U.S. for the dates indicated in the Federal Register Notice.
  • Have reported “on time” to ISS and maintained full-time enrollment at University of Washington.
  • Are currently maintaining F-1 status as students, not on post-completion practical training.
  • Are experiencing severe economic hardship as a direct result of the emergent circumstances in their country of citizenship.

Current Countries with Special Student Relief Opportunities





  • Federal Register Notice
  • Effective December 12, 2022 through June 12, 2024.
  • Student must have been in F-1 status on December 12, 2022.


Hong Kong


South Sudan






How to Apply

We recommend that students who are interested in applying for Special Student Relief meet with an advisor. The adviser will discuss with you eligibility for SSR as well as the application process.

The request for Special Student Relief is available for students in MyISSS. In the request form, we ask for you to provide information about your circumstances for you to include in your application to USCIS. We will review it and provide feedback to you.

Your application must include the following documentation for USCIS.

  • I-20 with Special Student Relief recommendation.
  • Copy of passport photo page
  • Copy of U.S. visa from passport
  • Copy of most recent I-94 record
  • Two photos
  • Payment for USCIS ($410) or the Form I-912 requesting the fee waiver
  • Letter to USCIS indicating that states how the situation in your home country has impacted you and how special student relief will help you moving forward

Wait for your authorization from USCIS. Once you receive your authorization, you may begin to work. Let ISS know when you receive approval.