ICE Extends and Adds to Employment Authorization for Certain Syrian F-1 Nonimmigrant Students
In an earlier notice, the Department of Homeland Security’s Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) suspended certain requirements for F-1 nonimmigrant students whose country of citizenship is Syria and who have been experiencing severe economic hardship as a direct result of the civil war in Syria since March 2011 (PDF). A new notice extends the effective date of that notice and expands the application of such suspension to students whose country of citizenship is Syria and who lawfully obtained F-1 nonimmigrant student status between the date of the original notice and September 9, 2016. The new notice was effective September 9, 2016, and will remain in effect until March 31, 2018.
F-1 nonimmigrant students granted employment authorization through the notice will continue to be deemed to be engaged in a “full course of study” for the duration of their employment authorization if they satisfy the minimum course load requirement. This notice applies exclusively to F-1 nonimmigrant students whose country of citizenship is Syria and who were lawfully present in the United States in F-1 nonimmigrant status on or after April 3, 2012, through September 9, 2016, under INA § 101(a)(15)(F)(i), 8 USC § 1101(a)(15)(F)(i); and are:
- Enrolled in an institution that is Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP)-certified for enrollment of F-1 students,
- Currently maintaining F-1 status, and
- Experiencing severe economic hardship as a direct result of the ongoing civil unrest in Syria since March 2011.
ICE records show that as of August 2016, approximately 700 Syrian F-1 visa holders in active status are covered by this notice.