Economic Hardship

Economic Hardship

Severe Economic Hardship Employment

F-1 students may apply for employment authorization based on "severe economic hardship" caused by unforeseen financial difficulties beyond the student's control.


To qualify for this type of employment authorization, you must:

  • have been in F-1 status at TC for at least one academic year
  • document that your need is genuinely unforeseen or unexpected. Typical examples of unforeseen financial difficulties include the unexpected loss of financial aid or support from the student's family or personal sponsor, a substantial fluctuation in the value of the student's home country currency, an inordinate increase in tuition and/or living costs, and unexpected bills due to a medical or dental emergency
  • be able to continue full-time enrollment while engaged in Economic Hardship employment


  • Economic Hardship Employment can only be authorized part-time (up to 20 hours per week) while school is in session. Full-time employment can be authorized during regularly scheduled vacations
  • The employment does not need to be related to your field of study
  • Authorization for employment under the Severe Economic Hardship Provision is given in one-year intervals
  • You must be able to continue your full-time studies while on severe economic hardship employment
  • You may not start employment until the start date as indicated on Employment Authorization Document (EAD). You must stop employment by the expiration date on the EAD or by the date you finish your studies, whichever is earlier. You may, however, apply for a renewal of Economic Need work permission if you are still a full-time student and if the conditions underlying the original application remain in place.
  • If you transfer school, the employment authorization automatically ends on the day your SEVIS transfer becomes effective

Application Process

STEP 1: Schedule an appointment with an international student advisor to discuss your financial need and submit the following:

  • A budget listing expected tuition, fees, and living costs for the upcoming year, as well as confirmed and anticipated financial resources. Note that the amount of need cannot be so significant that you cannot continue your studies - even if you are granted severe economic hardship employment, you must be able to continue full-time studies.
  • A detailed, descriptive statement explaining the reasons for your economic hardship
  • A letter from your financial sponsor or other relevant documentation verifying the information provided in your statement

If it is determined that you meet the requirements for this type of employment, you will receive a new I-20 with a recommendation for employment based on severe economic hardship.

STEP 2: Mail the application packet to the USCIS. The application packet must include the following:

  • your I-20, with a recommendation for Economic Need work permission
  • photocopies of all I-20s previously issued (even from other schools)
  • Copy of I-94 record
  • a check or money order made payable to the US Department of Homeland Security in the amount of $410.
  • a completed Form I-765 (PDF) Application for Employment Authorization
  • Form G-1145, in order to receive an e-notification of application receipt from USCIS
  • two passport photographs
  • a letter of explanation from you, addressed to the USCIS
  • supporting evidence documenting the unforeseen and unexpected nature of your economic situation
  • letters of support from your financial sponsor and academic advisor

Mail your application to the Chicago Lockbox:

U.S. Postal Service (USPS):

PO Box 805373
Chicago, IL 60680

FedEx, UPS, and DHL deliveries:

Attn: I-765 C03
131 South Dearborn - 3rd Floor
Chicago, IL 60603-5517

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