Severe economic hardship employment

An F-1 student may apply for off-campus employment if s/he is able to provide evidence of severe, economic need caused by unforeseen circumstances beyond the student’s control. When an F-1 student first enters a program of study, s/he must provide evidence of financial support in order to obtain an initial Form I-20. However, if there are extenuating circumstances that arise later and are out of the control of the student, s/he may be eligible to apply to work off-campus for a period of one year.


In order to be eligible to apply for employment based on Severe Unforeseen Economic Hardship, a student must:

  • Be in valid F-1 student status
  • Have completed 1 full academic year (2 semesters or 3 terms)
  • Demonstrate that loss of funding is unforeseen beyond the student’s control and that off-campus work is necessary for the student to continue the academic program

Circumstances that may warrant a reason to apply for Severe Economic Hardship 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.” 8 CFR 214.2(f)(9)(ii)

If you would like to apply to USCIS for Economic Hardship, please read this Information Handout for information on the process. Please complete Step 1 before you submit the E-Form.

For more information about about economic hardship, please contact OGS to speak to an advisor by calling 617-373-2310 or emailing [email protected].