J-1 Unforeseen Economic Hardship Employment

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Teachers College, Columbia University
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International Services

The Office of

J-1 Unforeseen Economic Hardship Employment

A J-1 student may be authorized for off-campus employment in a position not related to his/her program of study if the student demonstrates economic necessity due to "serious, urgent and unforeseen circumstances" which have arisen since acquiring J-1 status.  The student must also demonstrate that the employment will not interfere with his/her maintaining a full-time program of study: the financial need cannot be so great that the student cannot continue full-time study.

Students under Teachers College sponsorship must obtain authorization from the Office of International Services by submitting the following documentation:

  • An annual budget demonstrating the difference between the student's available funds and mandatory / required financial needs. The budget must estimated amounts for the following:
    • required tuition and fees
    • health insurance
    • estimated living expenses for room and board, books and supplies, food, dependent costs, and other miscellaneous expenses
    • guaranteed and expected sources of funding from Teachers College or other institutional sources, personal or family savings, and on- or off-campus employment
  • A letter and any supporting evidence explaining the "sudden" and "unexpected" nature of the economic need.

Note that employment authorized under this category counts against the 20-hour per week limitation on on-campus employment. For example, a student working 5 hours per week on-campus during the academic year may work only 15 hours per week on the basis of unforeseen econonomic hardship employment.

The OIS will review your documents. If approved, the OIS will issue an employment authorization letter valid up to one year or the expiration of your DS-2019, whichever is earlier. Employment may be renewed for additional one-year increments, depending on whether or not the circumstances of economic hardship remain.