WASHINGTON - U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement has announced special relief for certain F-1 Haitian students who have suffered severe economic hardship as result of the January 12, 2010 earthquake in Haiti. This relief applies only to students who were lawfully present in the United States in F-1 status on January 12, 2010, and enrolled in an institution that is certified by U. S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Student and Exchange Visitor Program.
The suspension of certain regulatory requirements, by notice in the Federal Register, allows eligible Haitian F-1 students to obtain employment authorization, work an increased number of hours during the school term, and, if necessary, reduce their course load while continuing to maintain their F-1 student status. F-1 students granted employment authorization by means of this notice will be deemed to be engaged in a full course of study if they meet the minimum course load requirements specified in the notice.
"We want to ensure that students from Haiti, who were here at the time of January's tragic events, are able to concentrate on their studies without the worry of financial burdens created by the devastation of the earthquake," said Louis Farrell, director for the Student and Exchange Visitor Program. "These students have the full support of SEVP and designated school officials for assistance."
ICE manages the Student and Exchange Visitor Program, and the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System, which automated the process for collecting, maintaining, and managing information about international foreign students, exchange visitors and their dependents during their stay in the United States.