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Short-Term Employment Authorization and Reduced Course Load for Certain F-1 Nonimmigrant Students Adversely Affected by Hurricane Katrina

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Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

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Start Preamble

AGENCY:

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, DHS.

ACTION:

Notice of temporary rule suspension.

SUMMARY:

This document informs the public of the suspension of certain regulatory requirements for a specific group of F-1 nonimmigrant students who were enrolled in academic institutions located in areas that have been adversely affected by Hurricane Katrina. F-1 students who are granted short-term employment authorization pursuant to this document will be deemed to be engaged in a “full course of study” for the duration of their employment authorization, provided such students satisfy the minimum course load requirement set forth in this document.

DATES:

This document is effective November 25, 2005, and will remain in effect until February 1, 2006.

Start Further Info

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Alanna Ow, Adjudications Officer, Office of Program and Regulations Development, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, Department of Homeland Security, 111 Massachusetts Avenue NW, 3rd Floor, Washington, DC 20529, telephone (202) 272-8410.

End Further Info End Preamble Start Supplemental Information

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

What action is the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) taking under this Notice?

The Secretary of Homeland Security is exercising his authority under 8 CFR 214.2(f)(9) to temporarily suspend the applicability of certain requirements governing on-campus and off-campus employment. F-1 students, who are granted employment authorization pursuant to this Notice, will be deemed to be engaged in a “full course of study” for the duration of their employment authorization, provided such students satisfy the minimum course load requirement set forth in this Notice. See 8 CFR 214.2(f)(6)(F). Start Printed Page 70993

Who is covered by this Notice?

This Notice applies exclusively to nonimmigrant aliens admitted to the United States in F-1 classification for duration of status under section 101(a)(15)(F)(i) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (Act), who: (1) On August 29, 2005, were lawfully present in the United States in F-1 status and enrolled in an institution, which is approved by DHS for enrollment of F-1 students and located in an area adversely affected by Hurricane Katrina; (2) are currently maintaining valid F-1 status; and (3) are experiencing severe economic hardship as a direct result of Hurricane Katrina. This Notice also applies to nonimmigrant aliens admitted to the United States in F-2 classification under section 101(a)(15)(F)(ii) of the Act, who are the dependents (spouse or minor children) of F-1 students covered by this Notice, provided that the F-1 student continues to maintain F-1 status.

F-1 students otherwise covered by this Notice, who transfer to other academic institutions, which are approved by DHS for enrollment of F-1 students, remain eligible for the relief provided by means of this Notice.

Why is DHS taking this action?

Hurricane Katrina caused loss of life, caused extensive damage to property, and has disrupted normal activities in the states of Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi. Certain academic institutions that are located in the affected areas are consequently unable to operate normally, or at all, during the current academic term. Approximately 5,500 F-1 students were enrolled in academic institutions located in the areas adversely affected by Hurricane Katrina. As a result of this catastrophic natural disaster, many of these F-1 students are suffering severe economic hardship resulting from, among other things, costs incurred to replace lost or damaged possessions, and/or to transfer to other academic institutions. Moreover, many of these F-1 students are experiencing difficulty in satisfying the normal regulatory requirements for maintaining valid F-1 status, which include the pursuit of a “full course of study” pursuant to 8 CFR 214.2(f)(6).

DHS is taking action to provide relief to these F-1 students so they may obtain short-term employment authorization, and consequently reduce their course load.

Which academic institutions are covered by this Notice?

This Notice lists the specific campuses of academic institutions, which are approved by DHS for enrollment of F-1 students and located in the areas adversely affected by Hurricane Katrina. In the event that DHS, after the publication of this Notice, identifies other academic institutions, which are approved by DHS for enrollment of F-1 students and located in areas adversely affected by Hurricane Katrina, DHS will extend the relief authorized under this Notice to eligible F-1 students who were enrolled in those academic institutions on August 29, 2005.

School nameCampus nameCityStateZip code
Archdiocese of New OrleansAcademy of the Sacred HeartNew OrleansLA70115
Archdiocese of New OrleansChristian Brothers SchoolNew OrleansLA70124
Archdiocese of New OrleansHenriette DeLilleNew OrleansLA70126
Archdiocese of New OrleansHoly CrossNew OrleansLA70117
Archdiocese of New OrleansHoly GhostNew OrleansLA70115
Archdiocese of New OrleansHoly Name of JesusNew OrleansLA70118
Archdiocese of New OrleansHoly Rosary AcademyNew OrleansLA70119
Archdiocese of New OrleansHouse of the Holy FamilyNew OrleansLA70126
Archdiocese of New OrleansImmaculate Heart of MaryNew OrleansLA70126
Archdiocese of New OrleansMarian Central Catholic Middle SchoolNew OrleansLA70126
Archdiocese of New OrleansOur Lady of LourdesNew OrleansLA70115
Archdiocese of New OrleansResurrection of Our LordNew OrleansLA70127
Archdiocese of New OrleansSt. AlphonsusNew OrleansLA70130
Archdiocese of New OrleansSt. Anthony of PaduaNew OrleansLA70119
Archdiocese of New OrleansSt. Benedict the MoorNew OrleansLA70126
Archdiocese of New OrleansSt. DavidNew OrleansLA70117
Archdiocese of New OrleansSt. DominicNew OrleansLA70124
Archdiocese of New OrleansSt. Frances Xavier CabriniNew OrleansLA70122
Archdiocese of New OrleansSt. Joan of ArcNew OrleansLA70118
Archdiocese of New OrleansSt. Joseph Central Catholic ElementaryNew OrleansLA70122
Archdiocese of New OrleansSt. Leo the GreatNew OrleansLA70119
Archdiocese of New OrleansSt. Mary of the AngelsNew OrleansLA70117
Archdiocese of New OrleansSt. Paul the ApostleNew OrleansLA70126
Archdiocese of New OrleansSt. Pius XNew OrleansLA70124
Archdiocese of New OrleansSt. RaymondNew OrleansLA70122
Archdiocese of New OrleansSt. StephenNew OrleansLA70115
Archdiocese of New OrleansStuart Hall School for BoysNew OrleansLA70118
Archdiocese of New OrleansUrsuline AcademyNew OrleansLA70118
Archdiocese of New OrleansAll SaintsNew OrleansLA70114
Archdiocese of New OrleansHoly Name of MaryNew OrleansLA70114
Archdiocese of New OrleansOur Lady of Divine ProvidenceMetairieLA70003
Archdiocese of New OrleansOur Lady of Perpetual HelpKennerLA70062
Archdiocese of New OrleansSt. Angela MericiMetairieLA70002
Archdiocese of New OrleansSt. BenildeMetairieLA70001
Archdiocese of New OrleansSt. Catherine of SienaMetairieLA70005
Archdiocese of New OrleansSt. ChristopherMetairieLA70001
Archdiocese of New OrleansSt. Clement of RomeMetairieLA70002
Archdiocese of New OrleansSt. Edward the ConfessorMetairieLA70001
Archdiocese of New OrleansSt. Elizabeth Ann SetonKennerLA70065
Archdiocese of New OrleansSt. Francis XavierMetairieLA70005
Archdiocese of New OrleansSt. Louis King of FranceMetairieLA70005
Archdiocese of New OrleansSt. Mary MagdalenMetairieLA70003
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Archdiocese of New OrleansSt. Matthew the ApostleRiver RidgeLA70123
Archdiocese of New OrleansSt. Philip NeriMetairieLA70003
Archdiocese of New OrleansSt. RitaHarahanLA70123
Archdiocese of New OrleansImmaculate ConceptionMarreroLA70072
Archdiocese of New OrleansOur Lady of Prompt SuccorWestwegoLA70094
Archdiocese of New OrleansSt. AnthonyGretnaLA70053
Archdiocese of New OrleansSt. CletusGretnaLA70053
Archdiocese of New OrleansSt. Joseph the WorkerMarreroLA70072
Archdiocese of New OrleansSt. RosalieHarveyLA70058
Archdiocese of New OrleansVisitation of Our LadyMarreroLA70072
Archdiocese of New OrleansOur Lady of Perpetual HelpBelle ChasseLA70037
Archdiocese of New OrleansOur Lady of Prompt SuccorChalmetteLA70043
Archdiocese of New OrleansSt. Louise DeMarillacArabiLA70032
Archdiocese of New OrleansSt. MarkChalmetteLA70043
Archdiocese of New OrleansSt. Robert BellarmineArabiLA70032
Archdiocese of New OrleansSacred Heart of JesusNocoLA70079
Archdiocese of New OrleansSt. Charles BorromeoDestrechanLA70047
Archdiocese of New OrleansAscension of Our LordLaPlaceLA70068
Archdiocese of New OrleansOur Lady of GraceReserveLA70084
Archdiocese of New OrleansSt. Joan of ArcLaPlaceLA70068
Archdiocese of New OrleansSt. PeterReserveLA70084
Archdiocese of New OrleansMary, Queen of PeaceMandevilleLA70471
Archdiocese of New OrleansOur Lady of LourdesSlidellLA70458
Archdiocese of New OrleansSt. Margaret MarySlidellLA70458
Archdiocese of New OrleansSt. PeterCovingtonLA70433
Archdiocese of New OrleansAnnunciationBogalusaLA70427
Archdiocese of New OrleansBrother MartinNew OrleansLA70122
Archdiocese of New OrleansCabriniNew OrleansLA70119
Archdiocese of New OrleansDeLaSalleNew OrleansLA70115
Archdiocese of New OrleansJesuitNew OrleansLA70119
Archdiocese of New OrleansMount Carmel AcademyNew OrleansLA70124
Archdiocese of New OrleansRedeemer-SetonNew OrleansLA70122
Archdiocese of New OrleansSt. AugustineNew OrleansLA70119
Archdiocese of New OrleansSt. Gerard Majella Alternative SchoolNew OrleansLA70122
Archdiocese of New OrleansSt. Mary's AcademyNew OrleansLA70126
Archdiocese of New OrleansXavier University PrepNew OrleansLA70115
Archdiocese of New OrleansArchbishop ChapelleMetairieLA70003
Archdiocese of New OrleansArchbishop RummelMetairieLA70001
Archdiocese of New OrleansArchbishop BlenkGretnaLA70053
Archdiocese of New OrleansArchbishop ShawMarreroLA70072
Archdiocese of New OrleansImmaculataMarreroLA70072
Archdiocese of New OrleansArchbishop HannanMerauxLA70075
Archdiocese of New OrleansSt. Charles CatholicLaPlaceLA70068
Archdiocese of New OrleansPope John Paul IISlidellLA70461
Archdiocese of New OrleansThe Saint Paul's SchoolCovingtonLA70433
Archdiocese of New OrleansSt. Scholastica AcademyCovingtonLA70433
Bass Memorial AcademyBass Memorial AcademyLumbertonMS39455
Delgado Community CollegeDelgado Community CollegeNew OrleansLA70119
Dillard UniversityDillard UniversityNew OrleansLA70122
East Central Community CollegeEast Central Community CollegeDecaturMS39327
East Mississippi Community CollegeScooba CampusScoobaMS39358
Ecole ClassiqueEcole ClassiqueNew OrleansLA70112
English Language CenterUniversity of South AlabamaMobileAL36688
Faulkner State Community CollegeFaulkner State Community CollegeBay MinetteAL36507
Faulkner UniversityFaulkner University at MobileMobileAL36609
John Curtis Christian SchoolJohn Curtis Christian SchoolRiver RidgeLA70123
Kaplan Test Prep, a division of Kaplan, IncKaplan Test Prep—New Orleans, LANew OrleansLA70118
Louisiana State University Health Sciences CenterLouisiana State University Health Sciences CenterNew OrleansLA70006
Loyola University New OrleansLoyola University New OrleansNew OrleansLA70118
Lutheran High SchoolLutheran High SchoolMetairieLA70002
Meridian Community CollegeMeridian Community CollegeMeridianMS39307
Metairie Park Country Day SchoolMetairie Park Country Day SchoolMetairieLA70005
Mississippi Gulf Coast Community CollegePerkinston CampusPerkinstonMS39573
Mississippi Gulf Coast Community CollegeJefferson Davis CampusGulfportMS39507
Mississippi Gulf Coast Community CollegeJackson County CampusGautierMS39553
Mobile County Public SchoolsDivision of Student Support ServiceMobileAL36602
Mobile County Public SchoolsBaker HighMobileAL36608
Mobile County Public SchoolsBlount HighPrichardAL36610
Mobile County Public SchoolsBryant HighIrvingtonAL36544
Mobile County Public SchoolsCitronelle HighCitronelleAL36522
Mobile County Public SchoolsDavidson HighMobileAL36609
Mobile County Public SchoolsMontgomery HighSemmesAL36575
Mobile County Public SchoolsMurphy HighMobileAl36606
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Mobile County Public SchoolsRain HighMobileAL36605
Mobile County Public SchoolsSatsuma HighSatsumaAL36572
Mobile County Public SchoolsShaw HighMobileAl36608
Mobile County Public SchoolsTheodore HighTheodoreAL36582
Mobile County Public SchoolsVigor HighPrichardAL36610
Mobile County Public SchoolsWilliamson HighMobileAL36605
Modern languages InstituteModern Languages InstituteNew OrleansLA70130
New Orleans Baptist Theological SeminaryNew Orleans Baptist Theological SeminaryNew OrleansLA70126
Nicholls State UniversityNicholls State UniversityThibodauxLA70301
Notre Dame SeminaryNotre Dame SeminaryNew OrleansLA70118
Nunez Community CollegeNunez Community CollegeChalmetteLA70043
Our Lady Holy Cross CollegeOur Lady Holy Cross CollegeNew OrleansLA70131
Picayune School DistrictPicayune Memorial High SchoolPicayuneMS39466
Remington CollegeRemington CollegeMetairieLA70005
Reserve Christian SchoolReserve Christian SchoolReserveLA70084
Ridgewood Preparatory SchoolRidgewood Preparatory SchoolMetairieLA70001
Riverside Academy CorporationRiverside AcademyReserveLA70084
Saint Joseph Seminary CollegeSt. BenedictSt. BenedictLA70457
School of Urban MissionsNew Orleans School of Urban MissionsGretnaLA70053
Southeastern Baptist CollegeSoutheastern Baptist CollegeLaurelMS39440
Southeastern Louisiana UniversitySoutheastern Louisiana UniversityHammondLA70402
Southern University at New OrleansSouthern University at New OrleansNew OrleansLA70126
Spring Hill CollegeSpring Hill CollegeMobileLA36608
St. Paul's Episcopal SchoolSt. Paul's Episcopal SchoolMobileLA36608
St. Stanislaus College PrepSt. Stanislaus College PrepBay St. LouisMS39520
St. Stanislaus College PrepMercy Cross High SchoolBiloxiMS39530
St. Stanislaus College PrepSt. John High SchoolGulfportMS39501
St. Stanislaus College PrepResurrection Catholic SchoolPascagoulaMS39567
St. Stanislaus College PrepNativity, B. V. M.BiloxiMS39530
St. Stanislaus College PrepSacred HeartHattiesburgMS39401
The University of Southern MississippiHattiesburg CampusHattiesburgMS39406
The University of Southern MississippiEnglish Language InstituteHattiesburgMS39406
Top Garden SchoolTop Garden SchoolIrvingtonAL36544
Tulane UniversityTulane UniversityNew OrleansLA70118
United States Sports AcademyUnited States Sports AcademyDaphneAL36526
University of MobileUniversity of MobileMobileAL36613
University of New OrleansUniversity of New OrleansNew OrleansLA70148
Unviersity of New OrleansUNO Intensive English Language ProgramNew OrleansLA70148
University of South AlabamaUniversity of South AlabamaMobileAL36688
William Carey CollegeWilliam Carey CollegeHattiesburgMS39401
Xavier University of LouisianaXavier University of LouisianaNew OrleansLA70125

What regulatory requirements in 8 CFR 214.2(f)(9) does this Notice temporarily suspend?

1. On-Campus Employment

For F-1 students covered by this Notice, the Secretary of Homeland Security is suspending temporarily the applicability of the requirement in 8 CFR 214.2(f)(9)(i) that limits an F-1 student to no more than 20 hours per week of on-campus employment when school is in session.

2. Off-Campus Employment

For F-1 students covered by this Notice, the Secretary of Homeland Security is suspending temporarily the applicability of the following regulatory requirements: (a) The requirement in 8 CFR 214.2(f)(9)(ii)(A), that limits an F-1 student to no more than 20 hours per week of off-campus employment when school is in session; (b) the requirement in 8 CFR 214.2(f)(9)(ii)(D)(1), that requires a student to be in F-1 status for one full academic year in order to be eligible for off-campus employment; and (c) the requirement in 8 CFR 214.2(f)(9)(ii)(D)(3), that requires an F-1 student to demonstrate that acceptance of employment will not interfere with the student's carrying a full course of study.

Will F-1 students who are granted employment authorization pursuant to this Notice be authorized to reduce their normal course load?

Yes. Pursuant to 8 CFR 214.2(f)(6)(i)(F), F-1 students, who are granted employment authorization pursuant to this Notice, will be deemed to be engaged in a “full course of study” for the duration of their employment authorization, provided such students satisfy the minimum course load requirement set forth in this Notice.

What is the minimum course load requirement set forth in this Notice?

Pursuant to 8 CFR 214.2(f)(5)(v), undergraduate level F-1 students who are granted employment authorization pursuant to this Notice must remain registered for a minimum of 6 semester/quarter hours of instruction per academic term, and graduate level F-1 students who are granted employment authorization pursuant to this Notice must remain registered for a minimum of 3 semester/quarter hours of instruction per academic term. In addition, pursuant to 8 CFR 214.2(f)(6)(i)(G), F-1 students granted employment authorization pursuant to this Notice, both at the undergraduate level and the graduate level, may count the equivalent of one class or three credits per semester/quarter of on-line or distance education toward satisfying this minimum course load requirement.

How may F-1 students covered by this Notice obtain employment authorization pursuant to this Notice?

1. On-Campus Employment

An F-1 student covered by this Notice, who seeks to pursue on-campus employment pursuant to this Notice, Start Printed Page 70996must demonstrate to the Designated School Official (DSO) at the academic institution where the F-1 student currently is enrolled that such employment is necessary to avoid severe economic hardship resulting from Hurricane Katrina. See 8 CFR 214.2(f)(9)(i). The DSO should sign, date, and include the following notation in the student employment box on page 3 of Form I-20: “Approved for more than 20 hours per week of on-campus employment until February 1, 2006, pursuant to Hurricane Katrina Special Student Relief.” By making this notation, the DSO certifies that the F-1 student is covered by this Notice.

2. Off-Campus Employment

An F-1 student covered by this Notice, who seeks to pursue off-campus employment pursuant to this Notice, must file a complete Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, including required supporting documentation, with the USCIS Texas Service Center at:

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, Texas Service Center, P.O. Box 853062, Mesquite, TX 75815-3062.

The front of the envelope, on the bottom right-hand side, should include the following notation: “HURRICANE KATRINA SPECIAL STUDENT RELIEF.” Failure to include this notation may result in significant processing delays.

An application package is complete if it contains: (1) A properly completed Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, with the required fee or, if the F-1 student believes he or she is eligible for a waiver of this fee, a written affidavit or unsworn declaration, which requests waiver of the fee under 8 CFR 103.7(c) and explains the reasons why the student is unable to pay the prescribed fee, and (2) Form I-20 with a recommendation for off-campus employment from the DSO at the academic institution where the F-1 student is currently enrolled. See 8 CFR 214.2(f)(9)(ii)(D). The DSO should sign, date, and include the following notation in the student employment box on page 3 of Form I-20: “Approved for more than 20 hours per week of off-campus employment until February 1, 2006, pursuant to Hurricane Katrina Special Student Relief.” By making this notation, the DSO certifies that the F-1 student is covered by this Notice.

If U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) approves the F-1 student's Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, USCIS will send the student a Form I-766, Employment Authorization Document, to evidence his or her employment authorization. The Form I-766 will contain an expiration date that will not extend beyond February 1, 2006. If USCIS denies the F-1 student's Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, USCIS will notify the student of the decision, and the reason(s) for the denial.

Is there a cut-off date for the filing of a Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, pursuant to this Notice?

No. DHS has not established a cut-off date for the filing of a Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, pursuant to this Notice. Any benefits granted by means of this Notice, however, will expire no later than February 1, 2006. While USCIS will exercise its best efforts to process such applications in as prompt a manner as possible, F-1 students applying for employment authorization pursuant to this Notice should bear in mind this expiration date when submitting their Forms I-765, Applications for Employment Authorization.

Will F-2 dependents (spouse or minor children) of F-1 students covered by this Notice be eligible to apply for employment authorization?

No. Pursuant to 8 CFR 214.2(f)(15)(i), an F-2 dependent (spouse or minor children) of an F-1 student, may not accept employment.

Will F-1 students covered by this Notice be required to apply for reinstatement after February 1, 2006?

No. F-1 students, who are granted employment authorization pursuant to this Notice, will be deemed to be engaged in a “full course of study” for the duration of their employment authorization, provided such undergraduate level F-1 students remain registered for a minimum of 6 semester/quarter hours of instruction per academic term, and such graduate level F-1 students remain registered for a minimum of 3 semester/quarter hours of instruction per academic term. See 8 CFR 214.2(f)(5)(v). Such F-1 students, therefore, would not be required to apply for reinstatement under 8 CFR 214.2(f)(16) if they are otherwise maintaining F-1 status.

How long will this Notice remain in effect?

This Notice grants temporary relief to a specific group of F-1 students for the estimated length of the current academic term. As such, this Notice will remain in effect until February 1, 2006. During this period, DHS will continue to monitor the adverse impact of Hurricane Katrina in the affected areas to determine if modification or rescission of these special provisions is warranted. Should these special provisions be modified or rescinded prior to February 1, 2006, DHS will announce such changes in the Federal Register.

Paperwork Reduction Act

The information collection requirements contained in this rule have been cleared by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) under the provisions of the Paperwork Reduction Act. Clearance numbers for these collections are contained in 8 CFR 299.5, Display Control Numbers, and are noted herein. Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, OMB Control Number 1615-0040.

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Dated: November 17, 2005.

Michael Chertoff,

Secretary.

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[FR Doc. 05-23309 Filed 11-23-05; 8:45 am]

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