Employment Based on Severe Economic Hardship
If other employment opportunities are not available or are otherwise insufficient, an eligible F-1 student may apply to the DHS for off-campus employment authorization based upon severe economic hardship caused by unforeseen circumstances beyond the student’s control. According to DHS regulations, such circumstances may include “loss of financial aid or on-campus employment without fault of the part of the student, substantial fluctuations in the value of the currency or exchange rate, inordinate increases in tuition and/or living costs, unexpected changes in the financial condition of the student’s source of financial support, medical bills, or other substantial and unexpected expenses.” In order to be eligible for this benefit, the student must have been in F-1 status for one full academic year and must be in good standing and carrying a full course of study. The student can start working off campus only after receiving the EAD card and employment is limited to 20 hours per week while school is in session and can be full time during school breaks. The employment does not have to be related to the course of study.
- The student must submit to the DSO evidence that
- acceptance of employment will not interfere with a full course of study;
- the employment requested is necessary to avoid severe economic hardship due to unforeseen circumstances beyond the student’s control; and
- on-campus employment is unavailable or otherwise insufficient to meet the student’s needs which have arisen as a result of unforeseen circumstances.
- Once the student receives endorsement from the DSO, the student needs to file a petition with
The Vermont Service Center
Department of Homeland Security
Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services
Vermont Service Center
75 Lower Weldon Street
St. Albans, VT 05479
The petition should include
- Completed Form I-765, marked with the code (C ) (3) (iii) in item 16
- $340 check or money order made payable to “Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services.”
- Photocopy of the I-94 (front and back).
- Two passport-style photos. Lightly print the applicant’s name and A# (the 11-digit number from the I-94) on the back of each photo with pencil. [Description of photos]
- Photocopy of the identity page of the student’s passport. If the student has been previously issued an EAD card, a photocopy of the EAD card should be submitted as well.
- A letter from the student detailing the unforeseen circumstances beyond the student’s control which have generated the severe economic hardship.
It is extremely important that the student should submit supporting documents for the above letter (affidavits, letters, bank statements, bills, etc.).
The DHS adjudicates the petition and, if and when approved, mails the student an EAD card. If the petition is denied, the DHS writes the student to notify him/her of the reasons for denial. The DHS does not allow for an appeal for a denied petition for economic hardship EAD. The employment authorization is granted in one-year increments up to the expected date of completion of the student’s current course of study. The authorization may be renewed by going through the above application process as long as the student is maintaining status and good academic standing. The employment authorization is automatically terminated when the student fails to maintain status.