F-1 Severe Economic Hardship Employment Authorization
What do you need to know?
What is it?
Severe Economic Hardship Employment is off-campus employment authorization for students who are experiencing serious financial difficulties caused by unforeseen circumstances beyond their control. If authorized, you may get any kind of job, anywhere, work a maximum of 20 hours per week while school is in session, and work full-time during vacation periods.
How can you qualify for it?
- You must have been in F-1 status for one academic year.
- You must have a grade point average of 2.0 or higher.
- You must explain how on-campus employment has been either unavailable or insufficient to meet your needs.
- You must convince us that working will not interfere with your full-time studies.
- You must be able to provide EVIDENCE which proves that you have financial problems that are caused by unforeseen circumstance beyond your control. Any reasons are acceptable as long as you can convince us that they could not have been avoided and are beyond your control.
Examples of unexpected expenses may be medical or dental bills, illness, death, or business problems of your sponsor, natural disasters or other problems where your sponsor lives, currency devaluations, or large tuition increases.
If your financial difficulties are caused by problems your sponsor is having (the person whose name appears on your Form I-20), that person will have to write a letter of explanation and provide evidence of the unexpected circumstances that are now affecting your support. He or she will also have to complete a Revised Affidavit or Financial Certification Form indicating the new amount that will be provided (if any) and evidence of continued financial capability. Evidence may include newspaper articles, back issues of the New York Times or Wall Street Journal showing currency devaluations, official school notices, or medical or dental bills.
How Do You Apply?
If you think that you qualify for Severe Economic Hardship Employment Authorization, make an appointment to see the International Student Advisor to discuss your situation. Bring any evidence that you have to prove your financial need. At your meeting you will get an Application for Severe Economic Hardship Employment Authorization to fill out and return to us.
When you return it, we will review your application to make sure that you qualify. If we agree that you do, we will recommend that USCIS authorize your employment due to server economic hardship and send your application for processing of your work authorization.
How Long Does It Take?
After you return your application to the international student services office, it will take about two months for your EAD (Employment Authorization Document) to be returned from CIS. It could take less or more time depending on their workload. Unfortunately, there is no way to make the process go faster.
Sometimes USCIS will write asking for more evidence of your financial problems. If that happens, we will contact you. That can delay the process even more.
You cannot begin to work until you have your EAD card!!
How Long Will I Be Able To Work?
USCIS grants hardship employment authorization for one-year periods. It can be renewed annually up to your expected date of completion of studies.
Your employment authorization is automatically terminated if you fail to maintain your F-1 student status or to complete your program of study.
You cannot start working until USCIS authorizes your employment and you have your EAD card!