Severe Economic Hardship

Special work status is available for students who have unforeseen financial circumstances. A student must provide proof that there is an unforeseen severe economic necessity beyond the student's control and that other employment opportunities are not available or are insufficient. A student must apply for this status before working off-campus. Time to complete the authorization process is approximately 80-120 days.

To be eligible to apply, students must have been registered full-time for at least one academic year, be in good academic and legal standing and in a valid F-1 status at the time of the application.

A student cannot work until they have received an EAD card (Employment Authorization Document) in the mail from USCIS. Employment is limited to 20 hours per week during the school year, but can be 40 hours during vacations. A student must obtain a recommendation in SEVIS from an International Student Advisor. The I-20 must also reflect the change in authorization. If the economic situation persists, a student can re-apply every 12 months. Authorization ends upon the program completion date or school transfer.

Application Process

To be eligible to apply, students must have been in F-1 status for at least one academic year, be in good academic and legal standing and carry a full-time course of study.

  1. Obtain supporting materials and write a letter to USCIS explaining the unforeseen nature of the economic hardship and the unavailability of sufficient employment on-campus.
  2. Complete Form I-765 for SEH
  3. Take two passport style photographs
  4. See an International Student Advisor for a recommendation in SEVIS, bring I-94, I-20 a check for $410 and passport.
  5. For the option of receiving an email and/or text message information that USCIS has accepted your application or petition, please complete