Definition of Severe, Unforeseen Economic Hardship
Circumstances beyond your control that arose after obtaining F-1 status have led to the necessity to find off-campus work. CFR 8 CFR 214.2(f)(9)(ii)(C) states that economic hardship circumstances "may include loss of financial aid 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."
Preconditions for an Economic Hardship Application
- Must have been in F-1 status for at least one full academic year
- Must be in good academic standing
- Must prove that employment is necessary due to severe economic hardship caused by circumstances beyond your control that arose after obtaining F-1 status
- Must demonstrate that on-campus employment is not available or insufficient
- Must demonstrate that acceptance of employment will not interfere with your full course of study
How Much Can I Work with an Approved Economic Hardship Work Authorization?
Employment authorization is granted in one year increments, or until the program end date, whichever is shorter. You are limited to 20 hours/week of employment while school is in session. You can work full-time during official school breaks.
If you already work on-campus, you cannot use economic hardship work authorization to work an additional job off-campus. USCIS will expect you to demonstrate the insufficiency or unavailability of on-campus employment as part of your application to them.
Where Can I Work with an Approved Economic Hardship Work Authorization?
You can work in any job with an approved authorization. Your work does not have to be in your field of study.
How Do I Apply for Economic Hardship Work Authorization?
Call or email ISS to schedule an appointment with an advisor. After verifying that you are eligible, ISS will issue an I-20. Then, you will submit an application to United States Citizenship and Immigration Services. Recommended application materials include:
- Form I-765 [pdf]
- Form G-1145 [pdf]
- Proof of your severe and unforeseen economic need. This might include a personal statement, bank statements, proof of currency devaluation, proof of emergent need, etc.
- Explanation as to why other on-campus employment options are unavailable or insufficient
- Appropriate payment to U.S. Department of Homeland Security (filing fee amount can be found on
- the USCIS website) or a Form I-912 Fee Waiver Request [pdf].
- Two new passport photos with name and I-94 # written lightly on the back
- Copies of your passport photo page, visa, and I-94
- A new I-20 with off-campus work request information, obtained from ISS