Economic Hardship

Economic Hardship Work Authorization permits off-campus employment that is necessary due to severe economic hardship caused by circumstances beyond the student’s control that arose after obtaining F-1 status.


Students who meet the following requirements may be eligible for Economic Hardship Work Authorization:

  • Student must have been in good standing as an F-1 student for at least one full academic year (two semesters) and is carrying a full course of study at the time of filing the application; and,
  • Student must prove the off-campus employment is necessary to avoid severe economic hardship caused by circumstances beyond his/her control that arose after obtaining F-1 status.

Application Process

To apply for Economic Hardship Work Authorization, please prepare the following documents along with the I-765 application

  • Type a letter to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service, requesting employment authorization (see suggestions below)
  • Obtain two passport style photos.
  • Prepare a Personal Budget Sheet (see model below)·
  • Prepare a check or money order payable to "U.S. Department of Homeland Security" for the correct fee.  
  • Provide independent documentation to support your severe economic hardship. 
  • Include photocopies of the following immigration documents: current I-20, passport expiration page, and I-94.

Sample Letter

Paragraph 1

State your purpose for coming to the United States, when you arrived, who was financially supporting you at that time, what is your major and degree, and when you plan to complete your studies.

Paragraph 2

State how the unforeseen financial circumstances have created a severe economic hardship for you. You must have independent documentation (not merely online reports or news articles) to support your statements; for example: tax statements from your sponsor, monthly expenditures compared to monthly income of your sponsor, bank statements, and notarized letter from sponsor. Also, state how you have already attempted to resolve this financial deficit through employment opportunities on campus and why this has not been sufficient.

Paragraph 3

State that you will continue to carry a full course of study even after acceptance of employment. Also, state what you plan to do with your degree in your country of residence if you are permitted to complete your course of study.

Paragraph 4

Close the letter, thanking the officer for considering your application, and SIGN the letter.

Sample Budget Sheet

Current Expenses (12 months) Current Income (12 months)
Tuition and Fees: $ Financial Sponsor: $
Room and Board (itemize): $ Personal Savings: $
Books and Equipment: $ Other Income: $
Other expenses (itemize): $