Off Campus – Economic Hardship

All international students are required to plan for and demonstrate how they will meet estimated expenses for their program, for all years in the program. However, sometimes events occur which lead to unexpected economic hardship for a student.

If you are in this situation, you may be eligible to seek off-campus employment to help you overcome your financial hardship. F-1 Students may be eligible to apply for an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) from USCIS that allows you to work off campus. You must first apply to ISSS for an updated I-20 recommending off-campus employment for unexpected economic hardship, and we will assess your eligibility for this work benefit.  

Please note the following restrictions:

  • You must have already studied in F-1 status for one full academic year (Fall and Spring terms)
  • Work is restricted to part-time – maximum 20 hours per week- when school is in session. This 20 hour limit also includes any other employment you have through on-campus employment or OPT.
  • Employment authorization is granted for a one year period, or the duration of your program, whichever is shorter.
  • The EAD is valid for use at any off-campus employer; the work does not have to be related to your studies.
  • The entire application process will take around four months (1 week processing with ISSS, approximately 3 month processing with USCIS).  
  • The application carries a $410 USD filing fee. There is an application to request a waiver of this fee if you are unable to meet the application costs due to your  unexpected economic hardship.

To apply, make an appointment with your ISSS Advisor, and bring the following documents for review:

  • A letter addressed to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services that explains the reason for your unexpected economic hardship.
  • Any documents that demonstrate the reason for your economic hardship (e.g. proof of currency devaluation, proof of job loss of economic sponsor, medical bills, etc.)
  • Documentation of how you will meet your expenses for the upcoming year
  • Completed Form I-765 – enter eligibility category (c)(3)(iii) in Part 2, question 27. Review the “Tips to Complete the I-765” before submitting.

Your ISSS advisor will assess your application and provide you with further instructions for applying to USCIS.

Submit Economic Hardship Application