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International Students

International Student Economic Hardship Employment

Procedures for applying for economic hardship work authorization


The student must do the following, and submit it to the DSO:

  1. Document the circumstances causing the economic need;
    • Write a statement describing the unforeseen hardship situation and, if possible, should attach backup documentation; for example, a letter from home telling of a change in family circumstances or proof of a currency devaluation in the student's country.
    • Explain why other employment options are unavailable or insufficient (a simple statement might suffice).
    • Provide financial documentation (bank statements) before and after the event that caused the economic hardship.
  2. Go on-line to the U. S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) website located at: Complete Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, using the code: "(c) (3) (iii)" at item 16. Sign Form I-765 and submit it to DSO. 
  3. Write a check to the order of "Department of Homeland Security" in the amount of the fee required for Form I-765. 
  4. Obtain two ADIT style photos taken within the last 30 days. 
  5. Submit a copy (both sides) of Form I-94. 
  6. Copy of the ID pages from the student's passport, or, for applications for renewal of work authorization, a photocopy of the previously issued EAD.


The DSO must do the following:

  1. Verify the student's eligibility for economic hardship work authorization, including maintenance of F-1 status for at least one academic year and currently in good standing as a student. 
  2. Update the student's SEVIS record with a recommendation for employment.  
  3. Print an I-20 in SEVIS, which will include the DSO recommendation on page 3; student and DSO sign where required. 
  4. Although not required, the DSO may choose to write a brief letter summarizing and verifying the student's financial situation, and supporting his or her application.


What to send where:

  1. Form I-765, completed by the student, marked with the code "( c )( 3 )( iii )" at item 16; 
  2. I-765 filing fee, in a check or money order payable to the order of "Department of Homeland Security"; 
  3. 2 ADIT-style photos taken within last 30 days; 
  4. Form I-20 issued with DSO recommendation for economic hardship employment; 
  5. Copy of both sides of the student's I-94;  
  6. A letter from the student (and an optional letter from the DSO), explaining the circumstances of the hardship. USCIS Service Centers also require the student to submit supporting materials documenting the unforeseen nature of the economic hardship and, to the extent possible, the unavailability of on-campus employment to meet the need; 
  7. Copy of the ID pages from the student's passport, and, for applications for renewal of work authorization, a photocopy of the previously-issued EAD; 
  8. Send the above to the USCIS Service Center with jurisdiction over the student's place of residence.

The student cannot begin employment until he or she receives the EAD from USCIS.
A student applying for economic necessity work authorization must often wait several weeks or even months before the EAD actually arrives.

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