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.
- 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/ Money Order for $410.00 made payable to US Department of Homeland Security. NOTE: Any application postmarked on or after October 2, 2020 must include the new fee of $550 (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 - Complete the Severe Economic Hardship E-Form (only accessible here).
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!