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This article was prepared with the assistance of ABIL, the Alliance of Business Immigration Lawyers, of which Loan Huynh, Fredrikson Immigration Department Chair, is a member.

Under the Exchange Visitor Program regulations, the Department of State’s (DOS) Assistant Secretary for Educational and Cultural Affairs published a notice on April 5, 2023, waiving and modifying certain regulatory requirements with respect to a temporary educational and cultural exchange program established for Ukrainian J-1 students in the United States. DOS said it is extending Special Student Relief to eligible Ukrainian students in the United States on J-1 visas “to help mitigate the adverse impact on them resulting from the full-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine that began on February 24, 2022.”

DOS explained that many exchange visitors from Ukraine dependent upon financial support originating in their home country have limited or no access to funds, and others may have difficulty returning home. The agency said it took this action “to ameliorate hardship arising from lack of financial support and to facilitate these students’ continued studies in the United States.”

The action is effective retroactively from August 18, 2022, until October 23, 2023, “unless the U.S. Government unilaterally ends the arrangement early or the U.S. Government and the Government of Ukraine together extend its termination date.” In that case, DOS will publish a notice in the Federal Register of the termination date, the agency said.

Individuals eligible for Special Student Relief must have continuously resided in the United States since April 11, 2022. Special Student Relief with respect to program status and employment for J-1 Ukrainian students does not apply to Federal Work-Study jobs, DOS said.

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