What is Economic Hardship?
Economic hardship is defined as a financial crisis that prevents an international student in valid F-1 status from meeting their overall expenses while pursuing their studies in the U.S. An example of such unforeseen circumstances: substantial fluctuations in the value of the currency or exchange rates, unexpected changes in the financial condition of the sponsor, medical bills, etc.
A student approved for economic hardship work authorization cannot work more than 20 hours a week when school is in session (fall and spring semesters).
You must consult with an advisor in the OIA before submitting a request to USCIS. Compiling the supporting documents for this work authorization can take considerable time.
- Full time registration and in good academic standing for a least one academic year
- Demonstrate that on-campus employment is not available or is insufficient
- Demonstrate that part-time off-campus employment will not interfere with studies
- Evidence of the claimed unforeseen circumstances causing the economic hardship
- A personal check or money order for $410; make payable to USCIS
- Two passport style photos on a white/light background
- Photocopies of all I-20s from every school you’ve attended in the USA (including high school, ESL, other U.S. institution, etc.)
- Photocopy of your unexpired passport (must be valid six months into the future)
- Photocopy of I-94 record. If you don’t have a paper I-94 card, download your most recent I-94 record from: https://i94.cbp.dhs.gov/I94/#/recent-search
- Photocopy of F-1 entry visa
- OPT Cover Letter
- Completed Form I-765
- Student Information Form
- A letter signed by your Chair / Academic Advisor to confirm your progress in your program of study
- Letter explaining the circumstances of your economic hardship
- Supporting documentation to prove what you’ve explained in your letter
- Recommendation I-20 for Economic Hardship (this can only be issued by OIA and is done after review of all your documentation)