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Off-Campus Employment for F-1 Students

F-1 students may be authorized to work off-campus, but only after having been in F-1 status for one academic year, and only after meeting certain criteria. Students who are experiencing unforeseen economic hardship and students who have a job offer from an international organization may apply for work authorization from the Department of Homeland Security.

Severe Economic Hardship

Severe economic hardship employment was established to provide students who have experienced a legitimate and unforeseen economic hardship after obtaining F-1 status with an opportunity to obtain employment authorization. Just what constitutes a legitimate and unforeseen economic hardship is debatable. It is up to the Designated School Official (DSO) to initially determine the legitimacy of the request.Typically, a DSO will consider factors including:

  • Loss of on-campus employment
  • Unexpected loss of a scholarship
  • Serious currency devaluation (when the funds come from abroad)
  • Excessive tuition and fee increases
  • Medical bills
  • Burglary or robbery (with a police report)
  • Substantial increases in living costs
  • Disruption of a sponsor’s income
  • Death of a sponsor

If determined by the DSO to be a legitimate and unforeseen economic hardship, the DSO recommends to the DHS through a SEVIS endorsement that the student be granted employment authorization by attaching evidence of the hardship being claimed. If granted, the employment authorization is valid for part-time employment (20 hours a week or less while school is in session) and full time during scheduled breaks.

* Request for Severe Economic Hardship Employment Authorization (144.3 KB)
Use this form if you need to document a "severe" and "unforeseen" economic hardship.

Employment with an International Organization

A special situation exists for F-1 students who have been offered employment under the sponsorship of an international organization, as defined by the International Organization Immunities Act. A student seeking permission to work for such an organization makes application to the DHS Service Center having jurisdiction over his or her residence by submitting the following:

  1. A written certification from the organization that the proposed employment is within the scope of the organization’s sponsorship.
  2. A Form I-20 ID endorsed for employment in SEVIS by the DSO within the last 30 days.
  3. A completed Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, with the fee required.