Hardship Employment

Hardship Employment

In some instances, a student who is able to prove severe economic hardship caused by circumstances beyond his or her control, which arose after obtaining the F-1 student status, may be eligible for permission to work off campus. If authorized, employment is limited to no more than 20 hours per week when school is in session and can be full-time during official school breaks. The field of work need not be related to course of study. The duration is granted by USCIS in increments of one year at a time; the authorization ends if a student transfers schools. Use of this category of employment does not count towards the 20-hour on-campus maximum, nor does it affect eligibility for practical training. Applications must be endorsed by ISS and submitted to the USCIS for approval. This application may take up to 90 days to process.


To be eligible to apply for off-campus employment authorization based upon severe economic hardship; F-1 students have to meet the following conditions:

  1. F-1 students must have been in F-1 status for one full academic year
  2. F-1 students must demonstrate severe economic hardship resulting from one of the following unforeseen circumstances:
    • loss of financial aid or on-campus employment without fault on the part of the student
    • substantial fluctuations in the value of currency or exchange rate
    • inordinate increases in tuition and/or living costs
    • unexpected changes in the financial condition of the student's source of support
    • medical bills
    • other substantial and unexpected expenses
  3. They must be in good academic standing and registered full-time, and the employment must not interfere with their studies
  4. Employment opportunities on campus are either unavailable or insufficient to meet their needs

Note: Please consult with the ISS coordinator to verify your eligibility for an off-campus employment if you are facing an economic hardship.

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