Severe Economic Hardship

Individuals who obtain an F-1 visa to study in the United States are expected to be able to support themselves financially. F-1 visa holders will need to prove their financial ability in order to get the I-20 and approval for the F-1 visa. 

 F-1 students who have been in the U.S. for a minimum of one year and who experience unexpected, uncontrollable changes in their economic situation can apply for a temporary, part-time work permit for off-campus employment during their studies. This application is through the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), and, if approved, will result in a special work permit based on severe economic hardship. 

Work Hours

This work permit allows the student to accept off-campus employment. With the Severe Economic Hardship authorization, students can work for max. 20 hours a week while school is in session, and over 20 hours a week during semester breaks such as summer break, winter break and official campus holidays.


USCIS may grant the authroization in one-year intervals. Renewal may be approved by USCIS if students continue to maintain the F-1 status and have the economic hardship.  


Students do not need to have a job offer to apply for Severe Economic Hardship. Students will need to show USCIS that they:

  • Have been in an F-1 status for one full academic year
  • Are in good academic standing
  • Have experienced unforeseen changes in your financial situation that were out of your control 
  • Cannot obtain suitable or on-campus employment to meet your new need

How to Apply

Request for Severe Economic Hardship endorsement here. Please allow 2-3 business days for us to process. You may be asked to provide additional information. 

Off-Campus Employment Application


Required documents:

  • Form I-765 (https://www.uscis.gov/i-765
  • Application Fee. Check the USCIS I-765 website for the most updated amount 
  • Copy of I-20 with DSO endoresemnt on severe economic hardship. The endorsement must be dated within 30 days
  • Copy of transcript showing you have been enrolled for one full academic year and met the F-1 enrollment requirement
  • A statement outlining the unforeseen hardship situation and explanation for why on-campus employment opportunities are insufficient to meet the financial need
  • Two identical passport-sized photos
  • Copy of the most recent I-94 
  • Copy of the passport 
  • Copy of the F-1 visa page or I-797 Approval of Change of Status to F-1, if applicable
  • Copy of previous EAD cards, if applicable
  • Other documentation deems necessary for your application. Check the USCIS I-765 website