Special Student Relief (SSR)

Special Student Relief (SSR) is the suspension of certain regulatory requirements by the secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) for an F1 student from parts of the world that are experiencing emergent circumstances. Regulatory requirements that may be suspended or altered for an F-1 student include: duration of status, full course of study and off-campus employment eligibility.

Permission must be granted by IESC (on-campus employment) or USCIS (Off-Campus employment) before a student can utilize the SSR provisions. Under SSR students can request one of the following:

OFF-CAMPUS Work Permission – work over 20 hours per week in any field and a reduction of minimum credit enrollment (undergraduate = 6 units; graduate = 3 units). The student is required to apply for employment authorization to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Approval is subject to review and adjudication by the California Service Center (CSC) of the USCIS.

Eligibility Requirements

DHS must first issue a Federal Register (FR) notice for your country. To be eligible for SSR, students must meet the following criteria:

  • Are a citizen of a country specified in an FR notice and was present within the United States on an F-1 visa on the designated start date indicated in the FR notice.
  • Are currently in legal immigration status.
  • Are currently enrolled in classes at CSUN
  • Have a CSUN I-20
  • Are experiencing severe economic hardship and are able to clearly document that they are experiencing severe economic hardship as a direct result of the current crisis in their home country of citizenship.

Duration of Employment

The SSR authorization is issued for a period of one year or until your graduation date or to the expiration date of the notice (see below) - whichever comes sooner. Students with SSR permission are required to enroll at least half-time. The SSR authorization ends if a student graduates or transfers to a different school.

SSR Application Procedure

Students are required to make an appointment to meet with an International Student Advisor at the IESC. Complete the Acknowledgement and confirm OFF-CAMPUS Employment.

Please bring the documents listed under Step 1 to your appointment. This will assist you with obtaining preliminary approval.

  • STEP 1: The student will submit the following via email to
  • SSR request form (form is available in the Form and Processes section of the IESC website)
  • Copies of supporting evidence and documents of your situation. Provide examples of supporting evidence such as,
    • Copy of student letter explaining the circumstances that caused the economic need
    • Copy of letter from sponsor explaining circumstances that caused the economic hardship
    • Copies of documents proving the circumstances that caused the economic need.
  • Copies of passport pages showing passport number, expiration date, and full name
  • Copy of most recent I-94
  • Copy of any previously issued EAD(s) (for student file/record)
  • Copy of completed Form I-765. Please review instructions and download the form at
    • This is an online fillable form. Please type or print legibly in black ink.
    • Answer all questions fully and accurately. If a question does not apply to you (for example, if you have not used any other names), type or print “N/A” unless otherwise directed. If your answer to a question which requires a numeric response is zero or none (for example, if you do not have a USCIS Online Account Number), type or print “None” unless otherwise directed.
    • Check the box "Initial permission to accept employment."
    • Students who do not have a Social Security Number (SSN), may now apply for a SSN when completing Form I-765. To apply for the SSN, complete Items #13a. and 14-17b.
    • Item #27: Type in the eligibility code(c)(3)(iii)
    • Leave Item #28 - 31b. blank
    • Certification Section: Sign your name using a BLACK ink pen. Make sure your signature stays within the signature box without touching any words noted on the form
    • Use Part 6. Additional Information to provide all previously used SEVIS numbers and evidence of any previously authorized CPT or OPT and the academic level at which it was authorized.

IESC will take approximately 3 weeks to review and process the SSR request. Please call 818-677-3053 to ask if the I-20 is ready for step 2.

  • STEP 2: The student will receive an updated I-20 with the work recommendation and Evidence Letter from Foreign Student Advisor. You will need the documents listed below to complete your packet and mail to USCIS.
    • Two passport photographs with small envelope. Photos must meet U.S specifications (not taken in home country). Refer to I-765 instructions on page 20 for photograph requirements. The student must write his/her name and A-Number (if any) on back edge of each photo lightly in felt pen or pencil.
    • Copies of passport pages showing passport number, expiration date, and full name
    • Copy of most recent I-94
    • Copy of any previously issued EAD(s)
    • Completed Form I-765 - USCIS will consider a photocopied, faxed, or scanned copy of the original, handwritten signature valid for filing purposes. The photocopy, fax, or scan must be of the original document containing the handwritten, ink signature
    • Completed Form G-1145 - Please download the form at
    • Original student letter explaining the circumstances that caused the economic need
    • Original letter from financial sponsor explaining circumstances that caused the economic hardship
    • Original documents proving the circumstances that caused the economic need
    • The filing fee for Form I-765 is $410.
      • Payments by check or money order - $410.00 payable to "U.S. Department of Homeland Security" from a bank or other financial institution located in the United States and must be payable in U.S. currency.
      • Payments by credit card - Please see Form G-1450, Authorization for Credit Card Transactions, at for more information. (Do not submit this form or any payment to the IESC)
      ***If a student is unable to pay the fee, they may submit a completed Form I-912, Request for Fee Waiver, along with the Form I-765. See An explanation must be included of why USCIS should grant the fee waiver and the reasons for the inability to pay, and any evidence to support the reasons. Read all information thoroughly and carefully to understand how to properly request a fee waiver.  For questions about the fee waiver process, you must contact USCIS directly. If the request for a fee waiver is denied by USCIS, the applicant will need to refile the application along with the proper filing fee.

    The student will be responsible for assembling the Application Packet and mailing the packet to the appropriate USCIS Lockbox based on the address that is printed on the student’s Form I-765. For students living in California, please mail your packet to USCIS Chicago Lockbox Facility.  For students living outside of California, please refer to the Form I-765 Application Instructions ( for the appropriate lockbox location.

    On the envelope, be sure to write SPECIAL STUDENT RELIEF

    When mailing documents by U.S. Post Office--Use Certified Mail Return Receipt and mail to:

    Attn: I-765 C03
    P.O. Box 805373
    Chicago, IL 60680-5374

    When mailing documents by FedEx, UPS, and DHL deliveries mail to:

    Attn: I-765 C03 (Box 805373)
    131 South Dearborn - 3rd Floor
    Chicago, IL 60603-5517

Important items to consider

  • IESC does not require ANY fees for the services it provides to international students. No fees, under any circumstances, shall be submitted to IESC. If a student is applying, a check payable to "Department of Homeland Security" will accompany the student's application.
  • Advisors’ responsibilities are limited to reviewing the check for accuracy and returning to the student who will mail the application directly to USCIS.
  • CSC/USCIS currently takes 90 to 120 days to process all application.
  • Students are not permitted to work prior to receiving employment authorization approval.
  • Students are required to submit a copy of the EAD to IESC as soon as they receive it.
  • Employment authorization is contingent upon maintaining your F-1 status.
    • If at any time during your authorized period of employment, you fall out of F-1 status your authorization is immediately cancelled.
  • Transferring to another school will also cancel your employment authorization eve if your card has not yet expired.
  • Schedule an appointment with an International Student advisor if you have any questions about the SSR.