If you are experiencing unforeseen financial hardship, you may apply to the United States Citizen and Immigration Services (USCIS) for authorization to work off-campus. This authorization differs from most off-campus work for F-1 students as it does not have to be related to your major.
Examples of unforeseen financial circumstances include the following:
- Loss of financial support or on-campus employment
- Substantial fluctuations in the value of home country currency or exchange rate
- Drastic increases in tuition or living costs
- Unexpected changes in the financial support (i.e. death or incapacitation of sponsor, loss of family business)
- Excessive medical bills
Facts about Severe Economic Hardship Authorization:
- USCIS grants this authorization one year at a time.
- The authorization allows you to work for any employer:
- 20 hours per week while enrolled full-time.
- Over 20 hours per week during breaks (i.e. summer, winter break, spring break)
- This employment does not affect your eligibility for Optional Practical Training (OPT).
- Employment authorization is automatically terminated upon graduation, failure to maintain status, or transfer to another school.
- The application process takes time and is not a “quick” solution to support financial need.
- You must have been in F-1 status for one academic year.
- You must be in good standing.
- You must demonstrate that on-campus employment opportunities are unavailable or insufficient to meet your financial needs.