Salisbury University students on campus

Severe Economic Hardship Employment

One condition of approval for F-1 nonimmigrant status is that a student shows the ability to pay for his or her education and support while in the United States. The severe economic hardship employment authorization benefit is intended to address situations where a financial need beyond the student's control arises, which was unforeseen at the time the student applied to the school he or she is currently attending and after all other potential employment opportunities have proven to be insufficient.

Examples of unforeseen economic hardship 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."

Authorization is granted in one-year intervals, up to the expected date of completion of studies. Students must reapply to USCIS each year to renew this work authorization. If a student needs uninterrupted work authorization he or she must apply early enough so that the EAD is received before the expiration date of the prior one, since continued employment during the pendency of an EAD extension request is not authorized.

This employment is limited to 20 hours per week while school is in session; but can be full-time during official school breaks. It can be performed in any job.; it does not have to be related to course of study. An offer of employment is not required as a condition of eligibility.


  • Check or money order for $380, made payable to the Department of Homeland Security or U.S. Citizenship and immigration Service. If someone else writes the check, make sure your name is somewhere on the check.

  • Form I-765 (Application for Employment Authorization; in item 16 indicate the appropriate code from below:

    -    (c)(3)(i)    F-1 Optional Practical Training

    -    (c)93)(ii)   F-1 Off-campus employment with a qualifying international organization (organizations must be recognized by the International Organization Immunities Act

    -    (c)(3)(iii)    F-1 Off-campus employment due to economic hardship

  • "Certification of Completion Studies" signed by your academic advisor

  • Two full-frontal color photographs, which must be less than 30 days old when the application is filled. Lightly print your name and A# (if known) on the back of each photo with a pencil. Place the photos in an envelope or plastic bag so they are not lost, but do not staple them. For more information on photo specifications, please call US CIS National Customer Service Center at (800) 375-5283

  • To document the need for employment, the student can 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 home country.

  • Explain why other employment options (such as on-campus employment) are unavailable or insufficient.

  • All forms are available at the SU Center for International Education, all US CIS forms are available at SUCIE