Economic Hardship


If you are suffering an economic hardship due to unforeseen financial circumstances, you may apply to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) for authorization to work off-campus.

Examples of unforeseen circumstances:

  • Loss of financial support or on-campus employment
  • 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 your source of support, such a loss of a family business
  • Excessive medical bills


  • You have been in F-1 status, and enrolled full-time, for at least one academic year
  • You are in good academic standing 
  • You must document that on-campus employment opportunities are unavailable/insufficient to meet your financial needs
  • You must be able to provide documentation to prove your severe economic hardship 

Documents Required/How to Apply:

  • Request economic hardship support from International Services Advisor. The Advisor will then provide you with a new I-20 that will show proof of support for work authorization on page 2 of your I-20.
  • Complete the I-765. Please be sure to write "(c)(3)(iii)" in Section 16
  • Prepare a check or money order for $410 payable to U.S. Department of Homeland Security
  • Obtain two passport quality color photographs (take within the last 30 days). Photos should be 2x2 inches
  • Print your most recent I-94
  • Write a detailed letter describing your financial difficulties and your efforts to secure employment. Supplemental documentation such a sponsor/parent letters explaining financial hardship, news articles describing financial state of home country, etc. are highly encouraged. 
  • Make a photocopy of passport ID page
  • Make a photocopy of visa
  • Make photocopies of previous I-20s
  • Prepare Financial Hardship Packet with all documentation listed above and mail to: 
    • USCIS
      P.O. Box 660867
      Dallas, TX 75266

Things to Remember:

  • Work authorization due to financial hardship is granted up to one calendar year at a time. 
  • If approved, you are allowed to work up to 20 hours/week while enrolled full-time.
  • If approved, you are allowed to work up to 40 hours/week while on an approved vacation term. 
  • Employment Authorization due to economic hardship is automatically terminated if you graduate, transfer to another university, or otherwise fail to maintain F-1 status, 
  • It typically takes 3-4 months for approval from DHS.