Economic Hardship

What is Severe Econmic Hardship?

Severe Economic Hardship is temporary employment authorization issued by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). It is limited to F-1 students who can demonstrate that they have been placed under severe financial hardship due to unforeseen circumstances beyond their control that arose after their arrival in the U.S. 

  • This authorization allows you to work for any employer off-campus. The job does not have to be related to course of study.
  • This employment authorization allows you to work up to 20 hours per week when school is in session and more than 20 hours during official school breaks.
  • This employment does not affect your eligibility for Optional Practical Training (OPT).
  • Employment authorization is automatically terminated if you graduate, fail to maintain status, or transfer to another school.​


Examples of "unforseen circumstance":

  • Unexpected changes in the financial condition of your source of support, such a loss of a family business, death of sponsor, or a natural disaster in sponsor's home country. 
  • Excessive medical bills
  • Substantial fluctuations in the value of currency or exchange rate


Who is eligible?


In order to be eligible to apply for Severe Economic Hardship you must:

  • Have been in F-1 status for one academic year
  • Be in good academic and disciplinary standing 
  • Document that on-campus employment opportunities are unavailable or insufficient to meet your financial needs that have arisen as a result of the unforeseen circumstances
  • Prove to USCIS that employment is necessary due to severe economic hardship caused by circumstances beyond your control that arose after obtaining F-1 status.​
  •  Demonstrate that acceptance of employment will not interfere with carrying a full course of study.


How to apply:

Please speak with an International Student Advisor (ISA) to discuss your situation prior to completing any documentation. Application forms can be picked up at the ISSS office or can be given to you directly by the ISA. Please keep in mind that this type of work authorization can take roughly 90 days to be approved by USCIS.