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International Services
 

Economic Hardship Employment


An F-1 student must show an ability to afford the costs of school and living expenses before entering the United States and should not plan to work off-campus. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will authorize off-campus employment only in cases of severe economic hardship occurring after a student’s enrollment in an academic program and after the student has been in F-1 status for at least one full academic year, or in emergent circumstances as defined by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).  Off-campus employment is work that that takes place outside of a school campus. 

USCIS makes case-by-case decisions for off-campus employment for students who can show that new, unexpected circumstances beyond their control have created severe economic hardship. 

These include the following:

  • Loss of financial aid or on-campus employment (if the student is not at fault)
  • Large increases in tuition or living costs
  • A substantial decrease in the relative value of currency the student depends upon to pay expenses
  • Unexpected changes in the financial conditions for a student’s sources of financial support
  • Unexpectedly large medical bills not covered by insurance
  • Other substantial, unexpected expenses

An F-1 student must have remained enrolled for at least one academic year, in status and in good academic standing before USCIS will authorize off-campus employment.

The F-1 student must be unable to get on-campus employment, or the pay from available on-campus employment must be insufficient to meet financial needs.

For each request approval, a DSO must provide the F-1 student with a Form I-20, “Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status,” endorsed to that effect.

The F-1 student must file a Form I-765, “Application for Employment Authorization,” and pay a fee to USCIS. The student should file within 30 days of the day the DSO endorses the Form I-20. If USCIS approves the application, the student will receive a Form I-766, “Employment Authorization Document,” (EAD) from USCIS and can begin working.

Approval for off-campus employment is good for one year. If the F-1 student needs to continue working off-campus, the student must re-apply.

Student Steps to File for Economic Hardship

If other employment opportunities are not available or are otherwise insufficient, an eligible F-1 student may request off-campus employment work authorization based upon severe economic hardship caused by unforeseen circumstances beyond the student’s control. These circumstances may include loss of financial aid or on-campus employment without fault on the part of the student, 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 the student’s source of support, medical bills, or other substantial and unexpected expenses.

  • Document the circumstances causing the economic need.  The student can write a statement describing the unforeseen hardship situation and, if possible, should attach backup documentation; Example: If the sponsor dies a copy of the death certificate.
  • Explain why other employment options are unavailable or insufficient.  Show evidence the student has tried to gain employment on campus and why working on campus will not provide sufficient funding for this.
  • To apply for off-campus employment, you must explain your economic hardship situation and receive approval to work from your DSO. If your DSO determines that the situation applies, he or she will recommend you and give you an updated Form I-20, “Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Status.”
  • Complete Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, using the appropriate code per instructions.
  • Obtain 2 passport photos
  • Proof of good academic standing (transcripts)
  • Provide a check or money order for the I-765 fee

Where to Apply

You should file the I-765 application with the USCIS Dallas Lockbox based on where you live.

For U.S. Postal Service (USPS):

USCIS
P.O. Box 660867
Dallas, TX 75266

For FedEx, UPS, and DHL deliveries:

USCIS
Attn: NFB AOS
2501 S. State Hwy. 121 Business
Suite 400
Lewisville, TX 75067

Direct Filing Addresses for Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization


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For further information, please contact:

International Services
Post Hall, Room 203
p – 516.877.4990
e – is@adelphi.edu

 
 
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