If employment opportunities are not available on campus and an F-1 student is experiencing severe economic hardship due to unforeseen circumstances beyond their control after obtaining F-1 status, they may apply to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to request an off-campus employment authorization.
F-1 students may only apply for this benefit if they have been in lawful F-1 status for at least a full academic year, and the employment authorization from USCIS is granted in one-year increments at a time. This employment authorization does not permit more than 20 hours of work off-campus per week during the academic year and does not reduce the available hours for on-campus employment or future practical training eligibility. Learn more about economic hardship for F-1 students.
To request the severe economic hardship Employment Authorization Document (EAD) with USCIS, F-1 students will need:
Note: F-1 students may not work off-campus until the EAD has been received from USCIS. Processing times vary. See USCIS processing times.
Guidance on eligibility and the USCIS application process for requesting off-campus work authorization for economic hardship should be provided by an immigration attorney. If students have questions, please contact an immigration attorney or Student Legal Services at 614-247-5853.
If you need to request the necessary I-20 with the recommendation for off-campus employment to include with your application to USCIS, please contact an immigration coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org or schedule an advising appointment.