Severe Economic Hardship

Severe Economic Hardship is for F-1 students who experience severe changes in funding that are unforeseen and uncontrollable:

  • Provides one year of off-campus work authorization before completion of studies.
  • Authorizes work up to 20 hours per week while school is in session, 21 or more hours during school breaks.
  • Student must maintain full-time enrollment.


  • Lawfully enrolled full-time in a U.S. university for at least one academic year (two long semesters).
  • Valid F-1 status.
  • Good academic standing.
  • Since arriving in the U.S. something unexpected happened to your funding, such as a sponsor dies or unexpected medical bills.
  • You have looked for an on-campus job and have been unable to find sufficient work.

Application Process

  • Set an appointment to speak with the CIE Director to review requirements and required documents.
  • Submit the required documents to obtain an economic hardship I-20.
  • Pick up the I-20 and mailing instructions.
  • Send the required documents to USCIS. USCIS processing usually takes about three months.
  • If approved, USCIS will send you an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) authorizing off-campus employment.