WASHINGTON – U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announces the Secretary of Homeland Security has suspended certain regulatory requirements for F-1 nonimmigrant Nepalese students who are experiencing severe economic hardship as a direct result of the April earthquake in Nepal. This relief applies only to students whose country of citizenship is Nepal and who were lawfully present in the United States in F-1 status on April 25, 2015, and enrolled in an institution certified by ICE’s Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP).
This suspension will enable eligible 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. The suspension of the regulatory requirements will remain in effect through Dec. 24, 2016 and may be extended through a future announcement by the Secretary if still warranted.
The April earthquake negatively affected the whole economy of Nepal. It resulted in 8,000 fatalities and more than 17,000 injuries, displacing more than 2.8 million people from their homes. The country’s critical infrastructure was severely damaged, and many government offices, schools, businesses, and hospitals were completely destroyed. Food security was jeopardized with more than 3.5 million people in need of food assistance.
As of Sept. 19, 2015, more than 9,000 F-1 students from Nepal were enrolled in courses at U. S. schools. Given the extent of the destruction and humanitarian challenges in Nepal, affected students whose primary means of financial support comes from Nepal may need to be exempt from the normal student employment requirements to continue their studies in the United States. The widespread disaster has made it unfeasible for many students to safely return to Nepal for the foreseeable future. Without employment authorization, these students may lack the means to meet basic living expenses.
ICE manages SEVP, the program that administers the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS). Since 2003, SEVIS has automated the process for collecting, maintaining and managing information about nonimmigrant students, exchange visitors and their dependents while they are in the United States.
To learn more about SEVP, visit www.ice.gov/sevp.