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Student and Exchange Visitor Program
06/09/2011

ICE announces employment authorization eligibility for certain Libyan students

WASHINGTON — U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has announced special relief for certain F-1 Libyan students who have suffered severe economic hardship as a direct result of the civil unrest in Libya since February 2011. This relief applies only to students who were lawfully present in the United States in F-1 status on Feb. 1, 2011, and enrolled in an institution that is certified by ICE's Student and Exchange Visitor Program.

ICE has published a notice in the Federal Register suspending certain regulatory requirements in order to allow eligible Libyan 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.

"We want to ensure that students from Libya, who were here when civil unrest began, are able to continue their studies without the worry of financial burdens due to the armed conflict," said Louis Farrell, director for the Student and Exchange Visitor Program. "The changes announced in this notice will allow eligible students from Libya to obtain employment authorization so that they can meet their basic living expenses while continuing to pursue their education in the United States."

There has been an ongoing armed conflict in Libya since February. Approximately 2,000 Libyan F-1 students are currently enrolled in schools in the United States. The armed conflict in Libya has increased the financial burden on many of these students, who previously relied on assistance from the Libyan government or family members in Libya to meet basic living expenses. In addition, the situation in Libya has made it unfeasible for these students to safely return to Libya in the foreseeable future.

ICE manages the Student and Exchange Visitor Program and the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System, which automates the process for collecting, maintaining, and managing information about international foreign students, exchange visitors and their dependents during their stay in the United States.

The Department of State has also announced special relief for certain Libyan J-1 exchange visitors who have suffered severe economic hardship as a direct result of the civil unrest in Libya since February 2011. More information about this relief is available in the Federal Register.

To learn more about the Student and Exchange Visitor Program, visit www.ice.gov.