U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services can grant authorization for off-campus employment to an F-1 Student experiencing “severe economic hardship caused by unforeseen circumstances beyond the student’s control.” A student may apply to the USCIS for employment based on economic necessity through his/her DSO. This type of work authorization is not restricted to jobs in a student's major field of study. Authorized students will be allowed to work part-time while school is in session and full-time during breaks.
Authorization for employment based on economic hardship is granted in one-year intervals and must be renewed each year by applying to the USCIS. The application is mailed to the U.S. of Citizenship and Immigration for approval (It is currently taking approximately 3 months for approval). If a student is approved, he/she will receive a work authorization card from the USCIS. The student may begin work upon receipt of the employment card unless otherwise stated by the USCIS. Authorization will be automatically voided if the student changes schools or falls out of legal F-1 status (even if the dates on the authorization card appear valid).
To be eligible for this type of off-campus employment, a student must:
- Have been enrolled as an F-1 Student for one full academic year (nine months);
- Be in good academic standing;
- Demonstrate that on-campus employment opportunities are not available or otherwise insufficient;
- Demonstrate that he economic hardship was caused by unforeseen circumstances beyond the student’s control.
Eligible students should contact their DSO to discuss the required application materials. Please bring all immigration documents to your appointment.
In addition to the application, eligible students must provide supporting evidence of the unforeseen financial circumstances. Such evidence may include:
- A letter to the USCIS explaining the unforeseen circumstances that arose AFTER enrolling at GSW, which has caused the severe economic hardship.
- Include a budget listing of all your expenses and source of support, possibly comparing the conditions in your country before the hardship occurred, and now after.
- Attach any additional proof necessary:
- Letters from sponsors
- Death certificates
- Medical bills
- Proof of the exchange rate fluctuations
- Newspaper articles explaining the situation in your country
- Any other pertinent information