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Employment for F-1 Students Due to Severe Economic Hardship

If other employment opportunities are not available or are insufficient, a student in F-1 status may request off-campus work authorization based upon severe economic hardship caused by unforeseen circumstances beyond the student’s control.


  1. You must have been enrolled full-time for one full academic year (fall and spring semesters).
  2. You must be in good standing and carrying a full course of study.
  3. You must demonstrate that acceptance of employment will not interfere with carrying a full course of study.
  4. You must demonstrate that on-campus work is insufficient to meet the need.
  5. You must have proof that the hardship is due to circumstances beyond your control, such as:
    1. loss of financial support through no fault of your own,
    2. substantial fluctuations in the value of currency or exchange rate,
    3. inordinate increases in tuition and/or living costs,
    4. unexpected changes in the financial condition of your source of support,
    5. medical bills, or
    6. other substantial and unexpected expenses.

How Much is Available

  1. Work could be authorized for 20 hours (part-time) per week during school and 40 hours (full-time) per week during breaks and vacations.
  2. Work could be authorized for one-year.
  3. Work can be renewed up until the completion of current course of study.

Economic Hardship Forms

  • Form I-765
  • Form G-1145
  • Application for DSO Recommendation for Hardship Employment (not available on-line yet)

Important Rules of Hardship Employment

  1. You MUST have an EAD Card in your hands before beginning to work.
  2. You must only work between the start and end dates listed on your EAD Card.
  3. You must maintain full-time student status (i.e. enroll and complete 12 credits or more) while on Hardship Employment.
  4. You must maintain good standing (2.0 or above GPA) while on Hardship Employment.
  5. Employment is automatically ended if you transfer to another school in the US or start a new course of study.
  6. It will take 2–3 months for USCIS to process your application. Please keep this time frame in mind while making your plans.

First Step — Consultation with International Student Advisor

  1. Schedule a meeting with your International Student Advisor to discuss your eligibility for Hardship Employment.
  2. If the International Student Advisor believes that you have a good case for Hardship Employment, you will be given an Application for DSO Recommendation for Hardship Employment.

Second Step — Application Assembly:

  1. Complete Form I-765(See Example) and Form G-1145. Please be sure to use the GEO address on your Form I-765 (101 Broad St, Kehoe 210, GEO, Plattsburgh, NY 12901). Item 16: the employment category is: (C) (3) (iii). Please be sure to sign in blue ink after you have completed the form.
  2. Complete the Application for DSO Recommendation for Hardship Employment
  3. Assemble the following documents:
    1. Forms I-765 and G-1145
    2. Documentary evidence of hardship
    3. New proof of funding
    4. All prior Form I-20s (first and third pages)
    5. Passport (biographical information page)
    6. F-1 Student Visa
    7. Form I-94 (front and back) or Admission stamp in passport
    8. Check, money order, or cashier’s check for $380 USD payable to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Checks and cashier’s checks must be drawn on a US financial institution. Money orders must be paid in US dollars.
    9. Obtain two passport-style photos. Lightly print your name and SEVIS number in pencil on the back of each photo.
    10. Completed Application for DSO Recommendation for Hardship Employment.

Third Step — Meet with Your International Student Advisor

  1. Once you have completed the first and second steps, schedule an individual appointment with the International Student Advisor. You must bring all the documents listed in items 1–3.
  2. The International Student Advisor will review your documentation. If all the documents are in order, the International Student Advisor will request you for Hardship Employment in the SEVIS system.
  3. The International Student Advisor will print out a new Form I-20 with Hardship recommendation.
  4. The International Student Advisor will photocopy and piece together the following documents for your application:
    1. Two passport-sized photos
    2. The check or money order for $380
    3. Completed Form G-1145
    4. Completed Form I-765
    5. Copy of Form I-20 with Hardship recommendation
    6. Copies of all previous Form I-20s
    7. Copy of passport (biographical information)
    8. Copy of F-1 Student Visa
    9. Copy of Form I-94 (front and back)
    10. Copy of previous Employment Authorization Document (EAD) cards (if applicable)

You will then send your application to the following address:

Attn: I-765 USCIS
PO Box 660867
Dallas, TX 75266

You will be given a complete copy of your hardship application for your records. As a precaution, the Global Education Office will also place a complete copy of your hardship application in your student file.

You may not begin working until you have received your EAD card!

Once you file your application you will be able to track its progress online. Please use the link below:

Check your application status online

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