Severe Economic Hardship

According to U.S. Federal Regulations, “If other employment opportunities are not available or are otherwise insufficient, an eligible F-1 student may request off campus employment work authorization based upon severe economic hardship caused by unforeseen circumstances beyond the student’s control.  These circumstances may include loss of financial and/or on-campus employment without fault on the part of the student, substantial fluctuations in the value of currency or exchange rate, inordinate increases in tuition and/or living costs, unexpected changes in the financial condition of the student’s source of support, medical bills, or other substantial and unexpected expenses.”

Terms & Limits

Authorized part-time economic hardship off-campus employment is limited to no more than twenty hours a week when school is in session.  A student who is granted off-campus employment authorization may work full-time during holidays or school vacation.

The employment authorization may be granted in one-year intervals up to the expected date of completion of the student's current course of study (indicated on SEVIS I-20).

The employment authorization is automatically terminated whenever the student fails to maintain status and/or transfers to another school.

Eligibility Requirements

  • Be in valid F-1 status
  • Be in good academic standing and have been enrolled as a full-time student for at least one full academic year, i.e. 9 months

Procedure to Request Severe Economic Hardship

STEP #1 - Seek all on-campus (OPS) employment opportunities. After trying, if you still are unable to find any job on-campus, move to step #2.

STEP #2 - Compile the following documents for your Economic Hardship application:

Write a cover letter to the US Customs and Immigration Services explaining your unforeseen economic circumstance, include that you were not successful obtaining an on-campus job, and provide the appropriate documentation proving that your situation is indeed an unforeseen circumstance beyond your control

  • Complete the Form I-765 (Please Note: #20 needs to be (c)(3)(iii)
  • Obtain two 2" x 2" photographs
  • Cashier’s check or money order for $410.00 made out to US Department of Homeland Security (NO personal checks)
  • Photocopy of your most recent Form I-94
  • Photocopy of passport's biographical data page
  • Photocopy of Visa or Form I-797 Approval Notice for F-1 Status

STEP #3 - Bring your documents in during OPT/CPT Walk-In Hours so we can see that you have the needed documents to continue. We will set up an appointment for you to go over the documents in more detail and create the I-20 if we are able to do so.

STEP #4 - If USCIS approves your application, your EAD card (Employment Authorization Document) will be sent to you. You will need to provide us a copy of your EAD card. YOU MUST NOT START WORKING UNTIL YOUR EAD CARD ARRIVES!