There are some special circumstances in which an F-1 student may obtain work authorization, including severe economic hardship and employment with an international organization. Students must meet the eligibility criteria below in order to apply for work authorization.
Severe Economic Hardship
The Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) defines "severe economic hardship" as a financial condition caused by unforeseen circumstances beyond a student's control that makes it difficult for the student to continue pursuing an education in the
These financial conditions may include:
- Loss of financial aid or on-campus employment through no fault of the student
- Substantial changes in the exchange rate or value of the currency upon which the student depends
- Inordinate increases in tuition or living costs
- Unexpected changes in the financial state of the student's source of support
- Medical bills
- Other substantial and unexpected expenses
A student seeking employment authorization based on severe economic hardship must meet the following conditions:
- The student must have been in F-1 status for at least one full academic year.
- The student must be in good academic standing.
- The student must prove to USCIS that employment is necessary because of severe economic hardship caused by circumstances beyond his or her control that arose after he or she obtained F-1 status.
- The student must demonstrate that on-campus employment is unavailable or otherwise insufficient to meet the needs that have arisen as a result of the unforeseen circumstances.
- The student must get a letter from the academic department stating that employment will not interfere with the student's pursuing a full course of study.
How to Apply
Please meet with an international student advisor and provide ISSS with the following documents:
- A completed I-765 form
- A check or money order for $410 made payable to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security or a request for a fee waiver (Form I-912). ISSS recommends reviewing the USCIS Fee Waiver Guidance before completing Form I-912.
- Two passport-style color photographs
- Copies of all I-20s issued to you
- A copy of your passport
- A copy of your F-1 visa
- A copy of your I-94 record
- A letter from you explaining why you are applying for employment authorization based on severe economic hardship and giving reasons for the loss of financial support
- A letter from your sponsor stating that he or she has lost the ability to fund your studies and/or any other documents proving this loss
Employment with International Organizations
F-1 students who are offered an internship with an international organization may be eligible for authorization of employment. Conditions for eligibility include:
- The student must be in the United States.
- The student must have received an employment offer from a public international organization that falls under
the International Organization Immunities Act, as defined in 22 USC § 288, 59 Stat. 669.
Students may be eligible even if they have not completed two semesters.