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Special Student Relief (SSR)

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) can suspend or alter rules regarding duration of status, full course of study, and employment eligibility, for specific groups of F-1 students from parts of the world that are experiencing emergent circumstances. These benefits are referred to as “special student relief” (SSR).

DHS issues SSR at their discretion, often based on serious circumstances impacting a particular country (such as a natural disaster or a major financial crisis). The purpose of SSR is to give students temporary relief at a time when the situation at home may make it difficult to financially support themselves. DHS publishes a notice in the Federal Register to define the specifics of what is to be suspended, and for whom, and the procedures for how to apply for any benefits that result from the suspension. SSR benefits do not begin for an individual student until the procedures described in the notices have been properly completed and granted.

Generally speaking, the eligible students must be citizens of that country, have been lawfully present in the U.S. in F-1 status as of the date of the SSR relief, and be experiencing severe economic hardship as a direct result of the crisis in the SSR-designated country. For more information, visit Special Student Relief. To find a list of active SSR notices, visit the What’s New page on, and contact your assigned ISSS advisor if you have any questions.

Please note that SSR and Temporary Protected Status (TPS) are different. TPS may be offered to various visa classifications, when applicable, including F-1 students. However, SSR, when applicable, is offered only to eligible F-1 students.