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Severe Economic Hardship

If you are suffering from a severe economic hardship due to financial circumstances beyond your control, you may apply to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for authorization to work off-campus.

Contact your Advisor in the Global Education Center to discuss your situation before you complete the required documents. Your advisor will determine your eligibility and help you in completing the application and submitting it to USCIS.

Rules for Applying
  • You must have been in F-1 status for one academic year
  • You must be in good academic standing
  • You must document that on-campus employment opportunities are unavailable or insufficient to meet your financial needs.
Examples of Unforeseen Circumstances
  • Loss of financial support from your financial sponsor or source of support
  • Substantial fluctuations in the value of currency or exchange rate
  • Extreme increases in tuition and/or living costs
  • Medical bills or other substantial or unexpected expenses
Required Documentation
  • Form I-765 (write (c)(3)(iii) in item 16)
  • $380 fee (make your check or money order payable to U.S. Department of Homeland Security)
  • Photocopy of Form I-20, with your ISS adviser's recommendation for economic hardship employment
  • Two passport style photos
  • Photocopy of I-94 card (front and back)
  • A letter describing your financial difficulties and why on-campus employment opportunities are unavailable or insufficient; include supporting evidence
  • Photocopy of passport identification page
  • Photocopy of visa page
  • Photocopies of any previously-issued EAD cards
Note: Application times can vary between two to four months. If approved, USCIS will issue an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) for a maximum of one year. Do not begin working until you receive the EAD.

If approved, you may work for any employer up to 20 hours per week while enrolled in a full course of study and full-time during quarter breaks and your annual vacation quarter. This employment will not affect your eligibility for OPT. Employment authorization is automatically terminated if you fail to maintain status or transfer to another school.