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Severe Economic Hardship Employment

Employment Authorization Based Upon Severe Economic Hardship

U.S. Immigration regulation stipulates:

ďIf 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 studentís control.

ďThese 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 studentís source of support, medical bills, or other substantial and unexpected expenses.Ē


If you feel your circumstances qualify as a severe economic hardship, you should make an appointment to discuss this with the Immigration Counselor.

To be eligible to apply for off-campus employment authorization based on severe economic hardship, F-1 students must meet the following conditions:

  1. You must have been in F-1 status for one full academic year (9 months).
  2. You must be in good academic standing and registered full-time.
  3. You must demonstrate that acceptance of employment will not interfere with your ability to take a full course of study.
  4. You can demonstrate that the employment is necessary to avoid severe economic hardship due to unforeseen circumstances beyond your control and that on-campus employment is unavailable or otherwise insufficient to meet the needs that have arisen as a result of the unforeseen circumstances.

How do I know if Iíve been approved?

The USCIS will adjudicate the application on the basis of Form I-20 and Form I-765 and any additional support materials. If employment is authorized, you will receive an EAD (Employment Authorization Document). You cannot login employment until you receive the EAD. USCIS will also notify you if you have been denied and will include the reason(s) for the denial. There is no appeal if you are denied.

Employment authorization may be granted in one-year intervals up to the expected date of completion of the studentís current course of study. USCIS will renew the EAD only if the student is maintaining status and good academic standing. The employment authorization is automatically terminated whenever the student fails to maintain status.

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Last Update: 09/2/2014