The Department of Homeland Security has temporarily eased certain regulatory requirements for some F-1 students from Hong Kong.

Key Points:

  • Hong Kong residents who are F-1 nonimmigrant students and are “experiencing severe economic hardship as a direct result of the emergent circumstances in Hong Kong” can now:
    • Request employment authorization from Nov. 26, 2021, through Feb. 5, 2023.
    • Work an increased number of hours while in school is in session.
    • Reduce their course load while continuing to maintain their F-1 student status.
  • To be eligible, individuals must have been lawfully present in the United States in an F-1 nonimmigrant status on Nov. 26, 2021.
  • DHS will consider F-1 nonimmigrant students who gain employment authorization engaged in a “full course of study” for the duration of their employment authorization if:
    • An undergraduate student is registered for a minimum of six semester or quarter hours per academic term.
    • A graduate level student is registered for a minimum of three semester or quarter hours per academic term.

Background: In August, President Biden issued a memorandum to defer the removal of certain Hong Kong residents who are in the U.S. for 18 months because of the current circumstances in Hong Kong. DHS has now taken action to help F-1 nonimmigrant students who are Hong Kong residents facing economic hardships, regardless of their country of birth. More information can be found here.

This alert has been provided by the BAL U.S. Practice group. For additional information, please contact

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