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Economic Hardship


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

Examples of unforeseen circumstances:

  • Loss of financial support or on-campus employment
  • 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 your source of support, such a loss of a family business
  • Excessive medical bills

The employment authorization is granted by USCIS in increments of one year at a time. The authorization allows you to work for any employer up to 20 hours per week while you are registered full-time. It also allows you to work more than 20 hours per week during quarter breaks and your annual vacation quarter.

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.


  • 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.

How to apply:

Contact your ISA to discuss your situation before you complete the required documentation. Your advisor will determine your eligibility and assist you in completing the application and submitting it to USCIS.