On April 19, 2022 Department of Homeland Security's Immigration & Customs Enforcement Agency (ICE) and Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) published a Special Student Relief (SSR) notice for Ukrainian students in the Federal Register. SSR is an immigration benefit that allows eligible students to enroll in a reduced courseload, and to receive authorization for on or off-campus work authorization beyond the standard regulatory limits. The publication includes the criteria for SSR eligibility. Eligible students must apply for an be granted SSR before they can begin to take advantage of this temporary benefit.
In addition to Ukraine, SSR benefits are currently in place for students from several other countries experiencing crises, including Burma/Myanmar, Haiti, Hong Kong, Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan, Syria, Venezuela and Yemen. A helpful summary of SSR and links to the specific SSR programs for each country can be found on the NAFSA website.
Also included in the April 19, 2022 Federal Register publication was the USCIS announcement of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) designation for citizens of Ukraine. The TPS designation allows eligible Ukrainian nationals who have continuously resided in the U.S. since April 11, 2022 and who have been physically present since April 19, 2022 to apply for TPS. The designation period is for 18 months, from April 19, 2022 to October 19, 2023. TPS is a limited form of relief designed to help individuals whose countries are experiencing emergency situations such as natural disaster and war. When a country is designated for TPS by the Department of Homeland Security, eligible citizens from that country can apply for the benefit to USCIS, which includes work authorization.
There are currently 12 other countries with TPS designation, including Burma/Myanmar, El Salvador, Haiti, Honduras, Nepal, Nicaragua, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Syria, Venezuela and Yemen. A helpful summary of TPS and links to the specific TPS programs for each country can be found on the NAFSA website.