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Severe Economic Hardship Work Authorization


Severe Economic Hardship. If other employment opportunities are not available or are otherwise insufficient, an eligible F-1 student may request off-campus employment work authorization based upon severe economic hardship caused by unforeseen circumstances beyond the student's control. These circumstances may 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, or other substantial and unexpected expenses.

You are eligible for employment based on severe economic hardship if:

1. you have been in F-1 status for one full academic year;

2. you are in good standing as a student and are carrying a full course of study;

3. you can demonstrate that acceptance of employment will not interfere with you carrying a full course of study;

4. you can demonstrate that the employment is necessary to avoid severe economic hardship due to unforeseen circumstances beyond your control and can demonstrate that employment is unavailable or otherwise insufficient to meet the needs that have arisen as a result of the unforeseen circumstances.

Application and Authorization Procedures

You should ask the International Student Adviser to evaluate your situation to make certain that you meet the eligibility requirements.  

You may not begin employment until you have received an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) from the DHS. To get the EAD, you must submit the following to the International Office [the office will send your packet to the DHS (INS) Service Center in Irving, Texas]. 

* Complete and signed Form I-765 

* Personal check payable to “U.S. Department of Homeland Security” for $410.00

 (Do not make check payable to “DHS” or “USCIS”)

* 2 "passport" photos

* Materials documenting your severe economic hardship and supporting your need for work authorization

The International Student Adviser in the International Office can help you put these materials together. Employment will be granted for one year at a time until you complete your studies. To renew your work authorization, you must complete a new application and be approved by DHS.

This type of work authorization is often difficult to obtain. If the DHS denies your request, you will be told why but you may not appeal the decision.

In general, F-1 students who have been in the United States less than five years are exempt from Social Security Taxes. Your earnings are subject to applicable Federal, State, and Local Taxes. Students must file a tax return on or before April 15th of each year. Students may be entitled to a refund of Taxes withheld from their wages if the amount of Tax owed is less than the amount withheld.

While DHS regulations provide a variety of opportunities for you to be employed during your time in F-1 status, working improperly or without authorization is a serious violation of your status. You should therefore consult with your International Student Adviser before taking up any employment.  It is your responsibility to comply with all immigration regulations that apply to F-1 students. If you fail to meet your responsibilities, you may not be eligible for benefits normally granted to F-1 students.

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