[Federal Register Volume 89, Number 73 (Monday, April 15, 2024)]

[Notices]

[Pages 26156-26161]

From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]

[FR Doc No: 2024-07869]

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DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement

[Docket No. ICEB-2024-0005]

RIN 1653-ZA49

Employment Authorization for Certain Palestinian F-1 Nonimmigrant

Students Experiencing Severe Economic Hardship as a Direct Result of

the Current Humanitarian Crisis in the Palestinian Territories

AGENCY: U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement; Department of

Homeland Security.

ACTION: Notice.

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SUMMARY: The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is suspending

certain regulatory requirements for certain Palestinian F-1

nonimmigrant students who are experiencing severe economic hardship as

a direct result of the current humanitarian crisis in the Palestinian

Territories. The Secretary is providing relief to these students who

are in lawful F-1 nonimmigrant status, so the students may request

employment authorization, work an increased number of hours while

school is in session, and reduce their course load while continuing to

maintain their F-1 nonimmigrant status.

DATES: This action for certain Palestinian F-1 nonimmigrant students

covered by this notice began on February 14, 2024, and ends on August

13, 2025.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Sharon Snyder, Unit Chief, Policy and

Response Unit, Student and Exchange Visitor Program, MS 5600, U.S.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), 500 12th Street SW,

Washington, DC 20536-5600; email: sevp@ice.dhs.gov, telephone: (703)

603-3400. This is not a toll-free number. Program information can be

found at https://www.ice.gov/sevis/.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: For the purposes of this Notice, ICE intends

to cover non-U.S. citizens of any nationality, or without nationality,

who are Palestinian. F-1 nonimmigrant students who possesses any of the

following authentic documents,\1\ though not limited to the list below,

regardless of the document's validity period \2\ or expiration may be

eligible for this relief:

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\1\ On June 14, 2007, Hamas, designated as a foreign terrorist

organization by the Secretary of State in accordance with INA

section 219, took de facto administrative control of Gaza, including

issuance of civil documents for the territory. Identity documents

issued by Hamas after June 14, 2007, will not be accepted, unless

verified by the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank.

\2\ The term validity period is used in reference to the length

of time a document can be used for purposes of travel or

identification prior to the expiration date.

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a Palestinian Authority Passport;

a Palestinian Authority Identification Card;

a Birth Certificate or Birth Extract verified or issued by

a recognized governmental authority identifying the holder as having

been born in the Palestinian Territories;

an identification document issued by a third country, the

United Nations, its specialized agencies and related organizations, or

the International Committee of the Red Cross, indicating the holder is

a Palestinian; or

a travel document issued by a third country, the United

Nations, its

[[Page 26157]]

specialized agencies and related organizations, or the International

Committee of the Red Cross, identifying the holder as a Palestinian.

What action is DHS taking under this notice?

The Secretary is exercising the authority under 8 CFR 214.2(f)(9)

to temporarily suspend the applicability of certain requirements

governing on-campus and off-campus employment for certain F-1

nonimmigrant students who are Palestinian, who were lawfully present in

the United States in F-1 nonimmigrant student status as of February 14,

2024, and who are experiencing severe economic hardship as a direct

result of the current humanitarian crisis in the Palestinian

Territories. Effective with this publication, suspension of the

employment limitations is available through August 13, 2025, for those

who were in lawful F-1 nonimmigrant status on February 14, 2024. DHS

will deem an F-1 nonimmigrant student granted employment authorization

through this notice to be engaged in a ``full course of study'' for the

duration of the employment authorization, if the student satisfies the

minimum course load set forth in this notice.\3\ See 8 CFR

214.2(f)(6)(i)(F).

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\3\ Because the suspension of requirements under this notice

applies throughout an academic term during which the suspension is

in effect, DHS considers an F-1 nonimmigrant student who engages in

a reduced course load or employment (or both) after this notice is

effective to be engaging in a ``full course of study,'' see 8 CFR

214.2(f)(6), and eligible for employment authorization, through the

end of any academic term for which such student is matriculated as

of August 14, 2025, provided the student satisfies the minimum

course load requirements in this notice.

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Who is covered by this notice?

This notice applies exclusively to F-1 nonimmigrant students who

meet all of the following conditions:

(1) Possesses any authentic document described in the Supplementary

Information section of this Notice;

(2) Were lawfully present in the United States on February 14,

2024, in F-1 nonimmigrant status under section 101(a)(15)(F)(i) of the

Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), 8 U.S.C. 1101(a)(15)(F)(i);

(3) Are enrolled in an academic institution that is Student and

Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP)-certified for enrollment for F-1

nonimmigrant students;

(4) Are currently maintaining F-1 nonimmigrant status; and

(5) Are experiencing severe economic hardship as a direct result of

the current humanitarian crisis in the Palestinian Territories.

This notice applies to F-1 nonimmigrant students in an approved

private school in kindergarten through grade 12, public school grades 9

through 12, and undergraduate and graduate education. An F-1

nonimmigrant student covered by this notice who transfers to another

SEVP-certified academic institution remains eligible for the relief

provided by means of this notice.

Why is DHS taking this action?

DHS is taking action to provide relief to certain Palestinian F-1

nonimmigrant students experiencing severe economic hardship due to the

current humanitarian crisis in the Palestinian Territories. Based on

its review of the conditions in the Palestinian Territories and input

received from the U.S. Department of State (DOS), DHS is taking action

to allow certain eligible Palestinian F-1 nonimmigrant students to

request employment authorization, work an increased number of hours

while school is in session, and reduce their course load while

continuing to maintain F-1 nonimmigrant student status.

On February 14, 2024, President Joseph Biden issued a memorandum to

the Secretary of State and the Secretary of DHS to defer for 18 months

the removal of certain Palestinians present in the United States by

implementing Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) for those eligible

individuals.\4\ This action came in the wake of the October 7, 2023,

terrorist attack by Hamas against Israel, and Israel's ensuing military

response, which has resulted in the humanitarian conditions in the

Palestinian Territories, primarily Gaza, significantly deteriorating.

Because of these conditions, DHS is now taking action so eligible

Palestinian F-1 nonimmigrant students may request employment

authorization, work an increased number of hours while school is in

session, and reduce their course load while continuing to maintain F-1

nonimmigrant student status.

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\4\ Memorandum on the Deferred Enforced Departure for Certain

Palestinians, The White House, Feb. 14, 2024, available at https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/presidential-actions/2024/02/14/memorandum-on-the-deferred-enforced-departure-for-certain-palestinians/ (last visited Feb. 27, 2024).

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What is the minimum course load requirement to maintain valid F-1

nonimmigrant status under this notice?

Undergraduate F-1 nonimmigrant students who receive on-campus or

off-campus employment authorization under this notice must remain

registered for a minimum of six semester or quarter hours of

instruction per academic term. Undergraduate F-1 nonimmigrant students

enrolled in a term of different duration must register for at least one

half of the credit hours normally required under a ``full course of

study.'' See 8 CFR 214.2(f)(6)(i)(B) and (F). A graduate-level F-1

nonimmigrant student who receives on-campus or off-campus employment

authorization under this notice must remain registered for a minimum of

three semester or quarter hours of instruction per academic term. See 8

CFR 214.2(f)(5)(v). Nothing in this notice affects the applicability of

other minimum course load requirements set by the academic institution.

In addition, an F-1 nonimmigrant student (either undergraduate or

graduate) granted on-campus or off-campus employment authorization

under this notice may count up to the equivalent of one class or three

credits per session, term, semester, trimester, or quarter of online or

distance education toward satisfying this minimum course load

requirement, unless their course of study is in an English language

study program. See 8 CFR 214.2(f)(6)(i)(G). An F-1 nonimmigrant student

attending an approved private school in kindergarten through grade 12

or public school in grades 9 through 12 must maintain ``class

attendance for not less than the minimum number of hours a week

prescribed by the school for normal progress toward graduation,'' as

required under 8 CFR 214.2(f)(6)(i)(E). Nothing in this notice affects

the applicability of federal and state labor laws limiting the

employment of minors.

May an eligible F-1 nonimmigrant student who already has on-campus or

off-campus employment authorization benefit from the suspension of

regulatory requirements under this notice?

Yes. An F-1 nonimmigrant student who is Palestinian, who already

has on-campus or off-campus employment authorization and is otherwise

eligible may benefit under this notice, which suspends certain

regulatory requirements relating to the minimum course load requirement

under 8 CFR 214.2(f)(6)(i) and certain employment eligibility

requirements under 8 CFR 214.2(f)(9). Such an eligible F-1 nonimmigrant

student may benefit without having to apply for a new Form I-766,

Employment Authorization Document (EAD). To benefit from this notice,

the F-1 nonimmigrant student must request that their designated school

official (DSO) enter the following statement in the remarks field of

the

[[Page 26158]]

student's Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS)

record, which the student's Form I-20, Certificate of Eligibility for

Nonimmigrant (F-1) Student Status, will reflect:

Approved for more than 20 hours per week of [DSO must insert

``on-campus'' or ``off-campus,'' depending upon the type of

employment authorization the student already has] employment

authorization and reduced course load under the Special Student

Relief authorization from [DSO must insert the beginning date of the

notice or the beginning date of the student's employment, whichever

date is later] until [DSO must insert either the student's program

end date, the current EAD expiration date (if the student is

currently authorized for off-campus employment), or the end date of

this notice, whichever date comes first].\5\

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\5\ Because the suspension of requirements under this notice

applies throughout an academic term during which the suspension is

in effect, DHS considers an F-1 nonimmigrant student who engages in

a reduced course load or employment (or both) after this notice is

effective to be engaging in a ``full course of study,'' see 8 CFR

214.2(f)(6), and eligible for employment authorization, through the

end of any academic term for which such student is matriculated as

of August 14, 2025, provided the student satisfies the minimum

course load requirements in this notice.

Must the F-1 nonimmigrant student apply for reinstatement after

expiration of this special employment authorization if the student

reduces his or her ``full course of study''?

No. DHS will deem an F-1 nonimmigrant student who receives and

comports with the employment authorization permitted under this notice

to be engaged in a ``full course of study'' \6\ for the duration of the

student's employment authorization, provided that a qualifying

undergraduate level F-1 nonimmigrant student remains registered for a

minimum of six semester or quarter hours of instruction per academic

term, and a qualifying graduate level F-1 nonimmigrant student remains

registered for a minimum of three semester or quarter hours of

instruction per academic term. See 8 CFR 214.2(f)(5)(v) and

(f)(6)(i)(F). Undergraduate F-1 nonimmigrant students enrolled in a

term of different duration must register for at least one half of the

credit hours normally required under a ``full course of study.'' See 8

CFR 214.2(f)(6)(i)(B) and (F). DHS will not require such students to

apply for reinstatement under 8 CFR 214.2(f)(16) if they are otherwise

maintaining F-1 nonimmigrant status.

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\6\ See 8 CFR 214.2(f)(6).

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Will an F-2 dependent (spouse or minor child) of an F-1 nonimmigrant

student covered by this notice be eligible for employment

authorization?

No. An F-2 spouse or minor child of an F-1 nonimmigrant student is

not authorized to work in the United States and, therefore, may not

accept employment while in F-2 nonimmigrant status. See 8 CFR

214.2(f)(15)(i).

Will the suspension of the applicability of the standard student

employment requirements apply to an individual who received an initial

F-1 visa and makes an initial entry into the United States after the

effective date of this notice in the Federal Register?

No. The suspension of the applicability of the standard regulatory

requirements only applies to certain F-1 nonimmigrant students who meet

the following conditions:

(1) Possesses any authentic document described in the SUPPLEMENTARY

INFORMATION section of this Notice;

(2) Were lawfully present in the United States on February 14,

2024, in F-1 nonimmigrant status under section 101(a)(15)(F)(i) of the

Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), 8 U.S.C. 1101(a)(15)(F)(i);

(3) Are enrolled in an academic institution that is Student and

Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP)-certified for enrollment for F-1

nonimmigrant students;

(4) Are currently maintaining F-1 nonimmigrant status; and

(5) Are experiencing severe economic hardship as a direct result of

the current humanitarian crisis in the Palestinian Territories.

An F-1 nonimmigrant student who does not meet all these

requirements is ineligible for the suspension of the applicability of

the standard regulatory requirements (even if experiencing severe

economic hardship as a direct result of the current humanitarian crisis

in the Palestinian Territories).

Does this notice apply to a continuing F-1 nonimmigrant student who

departs the United States after the effective date of this notice in

the Federal Register and who needs to obtain a new F-1 visa before

returning to the United States to continue an educational program?

Yes. This notice applies to such an F-1 nonimmigrant student, but

only if the DSO has properly notated the student's SEVIS record, which

will then appear on the student's Form I-20. The normal rules for visa

issuance remain applicable to a nonimmigrant who needs to apply for a

new F-1 visa to continue an educational program in the United States.

Does this notice apply to elementary school, middle school, and high

school students in F-1 status?

Yes. However, this notice does not by itself reduce the required

course load for Palestinian F-1 nonimmigrant students enrolled in

kindergarten through grade 12 at a private school, or grades 9 through

12 at a public high school. Such students must maintain the minimum

number of hours of class attendance per week prescribed by the academic

institution for normal progress toward graduation, as required under 8

CFR 214.2(f)(6)(i)(E). The suspension of certain regulatory

requirements related to employment through this notice is applicable to

all eligible F-1 nonimmigrant students regardless of educational level.

Eligible Palestinian F-1 nonimmigrant students enrolled in an

elementary school, middle school, or high school do benefit from the

suspension of the requirement in 8 CFR 214.2(f)(9)(i) that limits on-

campus employment to 20 hours per week while school is in session.

On-Campus Employment Authorization

Will an F-1 nonimmigrant student who receives on-campus employment

authorization under this notice be authorized to work more than 20

hours per week while school is in session?

Yes. For an F-1 nonimmigrant student covered in this notice, the

Secretary is suspending the applicability of the requirement in 8 CFR

214.2(f)(9)(i) that limits an F-1 nonimmigrant student's on-campus

employment to 20 hours per week while school is in session. An eligible

F-1 nonimmigrant student has authorization to work more than 20 hours

per week while school is in session if the DSO has entered the

following statement in the remarks field of the student's SEVIS record,

which will be reflected on the student's Form I-20:

Approved for more than 20 hours per week of on-campus employment

and reduced course load, under the Special Student Relief

authorization from [DSO must insert the beginning date of this

notice or the beginning date of the student's employment, whichever

date is later] until [DSO must insert the student's program end date

or the end date of this notice, whichever date comes first].\7\

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\7\ Because the suspension of requirements under this notice

applies throughout an academic term during which the suspension is

in effect, DHS considers an F-1 nonimmigrant student who engages in

a reduced course load or employment (or both) after this notice is

effective to be engaging in a ``full course of study,'' see 8 CFR

214.2(f)(6), and eligible for employment authorization, through the

end of any academic term for which such student is matriculated as

of August 14, 2025, provided the student satisfies the minimum

course load requirements in this notice.

[[Page 26159]]

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To obtain on-campus employment authorization, the F-1 nonimmigrant

student must demonstrate to the DSO that the employment is necessary to

avoid severe economic hardship directly resulting from the current

humanitarian crisis in the Palestinian Territories. An F-1 nonimmigrant

student authorized by the DSO to engage in on-campus employment by

means of this notice does not need to file any applications with U.S.

Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). The standard rules

permitting full-time employment on-campus when school is not in session

or during school vacations apply, as described in 8 CFR 214.2(f)(9)(i).

Will an F-1 nonimmigrant student who receives on-campus employment

authorization under this notice have authorization to reduce the normal

course load and still maintain his or her F-1 nonimmigrant student

status?

Yes. DHS will deem an F-1 nonimmigrant student who receives on-

campus employment authorization under this notice to be engaged in a

``full course of study'' \8\ for the purpose of maintaining their F-1

nonimmigrant student status for the duration of the on-campus

employment, if the student satisfies the minimum course load

requirement described in this notice, consistent with 8 CFR

214.2(f)(6)(i)(F). However, the authorization to reduce the normal

course load is solely for DHS purposes of determining valid F-1

nonimmigrant student status. Nothing in this notice mandates that

school officials allow an F-1 nonimmigrant student to take a reduced

course load if the reduction would not meet the academic institution's

minimum course load requirement for continued enrollment.\9\

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\8\ See 8 CFR 214.2(f)(6).

\9\ Minimum course load requirement for enrollment in a school

must be established in a publicly available document (e.g., catalog,

website, or operating procedure), and it must be a standard

applicable to all students (U.S. citizens and foreign students)

enrolled at the school.

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Off-Campus Employment Authorization

What regulatory requirements does this notice temporarily suspend

relating to off-campus employment?

For an F-1 student covered by this notice, as provided under 8 CFR

214.2(f)(9)(ii)(A), the Secretary is suspending the following

regulatory requirements relating to off-campus employment:

(a) The requirement that a student must have been in F-1

nonimmigrant student status for one full academic year to be eligible

for off-campus employment;

(b) The requirement that an F-1 nonimmigrant student must

demonstrate that acceptance of employment will not interfere with the

student's carrying a full course of study;

(c) The requirement that limits an F-1 nonimmigrant student's

employment authorization to no more than 20 hours per week of off-

campus employment while the school is in session; and

(d) The requirement that the student demonstrate that employment

under 8 CFR 214.2(f)(9)(i) is unavailable or otherwise insufficient to

meet the needs that have arisen as a result of the unforeseen

circumstances.

Will an F-1 nonimmigrant student who receives off-campus employment

authorization under this notice have authorization to reduce the normal

course load and still maintain F-1 nonimmigrant status?

Yes. DHS will deem an F-1 nonimmigrant student who receives off-

campus employment authorization by means of this notice to be engaged

in a ``full course of study'' \10\ for the purpose of maintaining F-1

nonimmigrant student status for the duration of the student's

employment authorization if the student satisfies the minimum course

load requirement described in this notice, consistent with 8 CFR

214.2(f)(6)(i)(F). The authorization for a reduced course load is

solely for DHS purposes of determining valid F-1 nonimmigrant student

status. Nothing in this notice mandates that school officials allow an

F-1 nonimmigrant student to take a reduced course load if such reduced

course load would not meet the school's minimum course load

requirement.\11\

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\10\ See 8 CFR 214.2(f)(6).

\11\ Minimum course load requirement for enrollment in a school

must be established in a publicly available document (e.g., catalog,

website, or operating procedure), and it must be a standard

applicable to all students (U.S. citizens and foreign students)

enrolled at the school.

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How may an eligible F-1 nonimmigrant student obtain employment

authorization for off-campus employment with a reduced course load

under this notice?

An F-1 nonimmigrant student must file a Form I-765, Application for

Employment Authorization, with USCIS to apply for off-campus employment

authorization based on severe economic hardship directly resulting from

the current humanitarian crisis in the Palestinian Territories.\12\

Filing instructions are located at https://www.uscis.gov/i-765.

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\12\ See 8 CFR 274a.12(c)(3)(iii).

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Fee considerations. Submission of a Form I-765 currently requires

payment of a $520 fee. An applicant who is unable to pay the fee may

submit a completed Form I-912, Request for Fee Waiver, along with the

Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization. See https://www.uscis.gov/i-912. The submission must include an explanation about

why USCIS should grant the fee waiver and the reason(s) for the

inability to pay, and any evidence to support the reason(s). See 8 CFR

106.2 and 106.3.

Supporting documentation. An F-1 nonimmigrant student seeking off-

campus employment authorization due to severe economic hardship must

demonstrate the following to their DSO:

(1) This employment is necessary to avoid severe economic hardship;

and

(2) The hardship is a direct result of the current humanitarian

crisis in the Palestinian Territories.

If the DSO agrees that the F-1 nonimmigrant student is entitled to

receive such employment authorization, the DSO must recommend

application approval to USCIS by entering the following statement in

the remarks field of the student's SEVIS record, which will then appear

on that student's Form I-20:

Recommended for off-campus employment authorization in excess of

20 hours per week and reduced course load under the Special Student

Relief authorization from the date of the USCIS authorization noted

on Form I-766 until [DSO must insert the program end date or the end

date of this notice, whichever date comes first].\13\

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\13\ Because the suspension of requirements under this notice

applies throughout an academic term during which the suspension is

in effect, DHS considers an F-1 nonimmigrant student who engages in

a reduced course load or employment (or both) after this notice is

effective to be engaging in a ``full course of study,'' see 8 CFR

214.2(f)(6), and eligible for employment authorization, through the

end of any academic term for which such student is matriculated as

of August 14, 2025, provided the student satisfies the minimum

course load requirements in this notice.

The F-1 nonimmigrant student must then file the properly endorsed

Form I-20 and Form I-765 according to the instructions for the Form I-

  1. The F-1 nonimmigrant student may begin working off-campus only

upon receipt of the EAD from USCIS.

DSO recommendation. In making a recommendation that an F-1

nonimmigrant student be approved for Special Student Relief, the DSO

certifies that:

(a) The F-1 nonimmigrant student is in good academic standing and

is

[[Page 26160]]

carrying a ``full course of study'' \14\ at the time of the request for

employment authorization;

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\14\ See 8 CFR 214.2(f)(6).

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(b) The F-1 nonimmigrant student is a Palestinian, and is

experiencing severe economic hardship as a direct result of the current

humanitarian crisis in the Palestinian Territories, as documented on

the Form I-20;

(c) The F-1 nonimmigrant student has confirmed that the student

will comply with the reduced course load requirements of this notice

and register for the duration of the authorized employment for a

minimum of six semester or quarter hours of instruction per academic

term if at the undergraduate level, or for a minimum of three semester

or quarter hours of instruction per academic term if at the graduate

level; \15\ and

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\15\ 8 CFR 214.2(f)(5)(v).

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(d) The off-campus employment is necessary to alleviate severe

economic hardship to the individual as a direct result of the current

humanitarian crisis in the Palestinian Territories.

Processing. To facilitate prompt adjudication of the student's

application for off-campus employment authorization under 8 CFR

214.2(f)(9)(ii)(C), the F-1 nonimmigrant student should do both of the

following:

(a) Ensure that the application package includes all of the

following documents:

(1) A completed Form I-765 with all applicable supporting evidence;

(2) The required fee or properly documented fee waiver request as

defined in 8 CFR 106.2 and 106.3; and

(3) A signed and dated copy of the student's Form I-20 with the

appropriate DSO recommendation, as previously described in this notice;

and

(b) Send the application in an envelope which is clearly marked on

the front of the envelope, bottom right-hand side, with the phrase

``SPECIAL STUDENT RELIEF.'' \16\ Failure to include this notation may

result in significant processing delays.

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\16\ Guidance for direct filing addresses can be found here:

https://www.uscis.gov/i-765-addresses.

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If USCIS approves the student's Form I-765, USCIS will send the

student a Form I-766 EAD as evidence of employment authorization. The

EAD will contain an expiration date that does not exceed the end of the

granted temporary relief.

Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) Considerations

Can an F-1 nonimmigrant student apply for a DED-related EAD and for

benefits under this notice at the same time?

Yes. Although they are not required to apply for a DED-related EAD,

if an eligible F-1 nonimmigrant student wants to obtain such an EAD,

the student must file Form I-765 and pay the related fee (or request a

fee waiver). The F-1 student may also apply for Special Student Relief

under this notice by requesting that the DSO notate on their Form I-20

in SEVIS that the student has been authorized to carry a reduced course

load and is permitted to work an increased number of hours under

Special Student Relief while school is in session. The DSO should also

notate on the Form I-20 that the student is working pursuant to a DED-

related EAD. As long as the F-1 nonimmigrant student maintains the

minimum course load described in this notice, does not otherwise

violate the student's nonimmigrant status, including as provided under

8 CFR 214.1(g), and remains covered under DED, then the student

maintains F-1 nonimmigrant status and DED concurrently.

When a student applies simultaneously for a DED-related EAD and

benefits under this notice, what is the minimum course load requirement

while an application for employment authorization is pending?

The F-1 nonimmigrant student must maintain normal course load

requirements for a ``full course of study'' \17 \unless or until the F-

1 nonimmigrant student is granted employment authorization under this

notice. DED-related employment authorization, by itself, does not

authorize a nonimmigrant student to drop below twelve credit hours, or

otherwise applicable minimum requirements (e.g., clock hours for non-

traditional academic programs). Once approved for a DED-related EAD and

Special Student Relief employment authorization, as indicated by the

DSO's required entry in SEVIS and issuance of an updated Form I-20, the

F-1 nonimmigrant student may drop below twelve credit hours, or

otherwise applicable minimum requirements (with a minimum of six

semester or quarter hours of instruction per academic term if the

student is at the undergraduate level, or a minimum of three semester

or quarter hours of instruction per academic term if the student is at

the graduate level). See 8 CFR 214.2(f)(5)(v), 214.2(f)(6),

214.2(f)(9)(i) and (ii).

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\17\ See 8 CFR 214.2(f)(6).

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How does an F-1 student who has received a DED-related EAD then apply

for authorization to take a reduced course load under this notice?

There is no further application process with USCIS if a student has

been approved for a DED-related EAD. However, the F-1 nonimmigrant

student must demonstrate and provide documentation to the DSO of severe

economic hardship as a direct result of the current humanitarian crisis

in the Palestinian Territories. The DSO will then verify and update the

student's SEVIS record to enable the F-1 nonimmigrant student with DED

to reduce their course load without any further action or application.

No other EAD needs to be issued for the F-1 nonimmigrant student to

have employment authorization.

Can a noncitizen who has been granted a DED-related EAD apply for

reinstatement to F-1 nonimmigrant student status after the noncitizen's

F-1 nonimmigrant student status has lapsed?

Yes. Current regulations permit certain students who fall out of F-

1 nonimmigrant student status to apply for reinstatement. See 8 CFR

214.2(f)(16). This provision might apply to students who worked on a

DED-related EAD or dropped their course load before February 14, 2024,

and therefore fell out of F-1 nonimmigrant status. The student must

satisfy the criteria set forth in the F-1 nonimmigrant student status

reinstatement regulations.

How long will this notice remain in effect?

This notice grants temporary relief through August 13, 2025,\18\ to

eligible F-1 nonimmigrant students. DHS will continue to monitor the

situation in the Palestinian Territories. Should the special provisions

authorized by this notice need modification or extension, DHS will

announce such changes in the Federal Register.

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\18\ Because the suspension of requirements under this notice

applies throughout an academic term during which the suspension is

in effect, DHS considers an F-1 nonimmigrant student who engages in

a reduced course load or employment (or both) after this notice is

effective to be engaging in a ``full course of study,'' see 8 CFR

214.2(f)(6), and eligible for employment authorization, through the

end of any academic term for which such student is matriculated as

of August 14, 2025, provided the student satisfies the minimum

course load requirement in this notice.

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Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA)

An F-1 nonimmigrant student seeking off-campus employment

authorization due to severe economic hardship resulting from the

current humanitarian crisis in the Palestinian Territories must

demonstrate to the DSO that this employment is necessary to avoid

severe economic hardship. A DSO who agrees that a nonimmigrant student

should receive such employment authorization must recommend an

application approval to USCIS by entering information in the remarks

field of the student's SEVIS record. The authority to collect this

information is in the SEVIS collection of information currently

approved by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) under OMB Control

Number 1653-0038.

This notice also allows an eligible F-1 nonimmigrant student to

request employment authorization, work an increased number of hours

while the academic institution is in session, and reduce their course

load while continuing to maintain F-1 nonimmigrant student status.

To apply for employment authorization, certain F-1 nonimmigrant

students must complete and submit a currently approved Form I-765

according to the instructions on the form. OMB has previously approved

the collection of information contained on the current Form I-765,

consistent with the PRA (OMB Control No. 1615-0040). Although there

will be a slight increase in the number of Form I-765 filings because

of this notice, the number of filings currently contained in the OMB

annual inventory for Form I-765 is sufficient to cover the additional

filings. Accordingly, there is no further action required under the

PRA.

Alejandro Mayorkas,

Secretary, U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

[FR Doc. 2024-07869 Filed 4-12-24; 11:15 am]

BILLING CODE 9111-CB-P