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Economic Hardship Work Authorization


If a student:

  1. Is experiencing economic hardship due to unforeseen circumstances beyond his/her control
  2. Employment opportunities are not available
  3. The student has been in lawful F-1 status for at least one academic year

The student may apply for off-campus work authorization based upon economic hardship. USCIS requires that students make a “good faith effort” to locate employment on-campus before applying for economic hardship employment.

Checklist for F-1 Economic Hardship Employment Application

  • Completed Request for Economic Hardship Employment form
  • Form I-765, using the code (C)(3)(iii) under question 20
  • Letter from you to USCIS explaining the circumstances of the hardship. In this letter:
    • Describe the unforeseen hardship situation
    • Explain why other employment options are unavailable or insufficient
  • Supporting documentation which verifies the economic hardship (i.e. letter certifying the loss of sponsor funding, documentation verifying significant currency rate fluctuations, copies of large medical bills, etc.)
  • Check or money order of $410 made payable to “U.S. Department of Homeland Security”
  • Form I-912, Request for Fee Waiver, if you wish to request the $410 fee to be waived
  • Two passport style photographs
  • Form I-20 with DSO recommendation for Economic Hardship
  • I-94
  • Photocopy of the photo page in your passport and visa
  • If applicable, photocopy of any previous EAD card

Mail all documents to:

For most up-to-date address please check here.

Applications are processed within 60-90 days

Processing Information:

When your application is accepted for processing, you will be sent a Form I-797 Notice of Action, which you should keep, so you have a record of your application and its file number. There is a web site to track the progress of your application. With your receipt number, you can go here for the status of your application.

Decision on Your Application:

If your application is approved, your EAD will be mailed to the address you put on your application form.

Employment limits:

Weekly hour limits are: 20 hours during the Fall and Spring semesters and 40 during other times.

Unforeseen circumstances that can make a student eligible include:

  • Loss of financial aid or on-campus employment without fault on the part of the student
  • Substantial fluctuations in the value of currency or exchange rate
  • Inordinate increases in tuition and/or living costs
  • Unexpected changes in the financial condition of the student's source of support
  • Medical bills
  • Other substantial and unexpected expenses

If USCIS approves your application they will issue an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) which includes your photograph. The EAD will be valid for one year, and is renewable.

Questions? Contact the International Student & Scholar Services office: iss@umsl.edu, 314-516-5229