International Programs and Global Engagement



F-1 visa student who have encountered financial difficulties due to unforeseen circumstances may be eligible to apply for a part-time, off-campus work permit. In addition to being able to clearly demonstrate that a financial hardship exists and arose as a result of unforeseen circumstances, applicants for this work permit must have been in F-1 status for at least one academic year, be in good academic standing, and be able to demonstrate that the employment will not negatively impact on their academic performance. Applications for economic hardship are submitted to the USCIS and processing takes 90 days on average.


APPLICATION: Obtain the Economic Hardship Application and Instructions from the International Programs and Global Engagement office.

PERSONAL STATEMENT: Write a letter to "Officer in Charge, USCIS" outlining the reasons behind your financial difficulties and requesting that a part-time work permit be issued to you. This letter should include a brief budget detailing your estimated income and expenses for one academic year.

DOCUMENTATION: Locate documents, newspaper articles, certificates, or other supporting materials that corroborate your claim of unforeseen financial hardship.

PHOTOS: Have two US Passport Style Photos taken (see attached description for photo measurements). List your name and I-94 Admission Number on the back of both of your passport photos

SIGNATURE CARD: Sign the USCIS Form I-765 Signature Card in black ink. The signature should be within the rectangular signature block.

I-765: Complete the USCIS Form I-765 items 1-15

FEE: $340.00. Prepare a check payable to Department of Homeland Security.

APPLY: Bring the following to your advisor at the International Programs and Global Engagement office

  • Items 2 - 7 listed above
  • Your I-94 Departure Record
  • All previous I-20s (a new SEVIS I-20 will also be issued to you recommending Economic Hardship)
  • Your passport
  • Your previous Employment Authorization Document (if you have one)
  • IPGE Advisor Letter (we will prepare a letter of support for you)

MAIL: Your advisor at the International Programs and Global Engagement office will prepare a new SEVIS I-20 for Economic Hardship, make the necessary written USCIS recommendations, sign and copy all appropriate forms, and return a packet for you to mail directly to the USCIS Service Center.
If living in California then, mail the application packet to:

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services California Service Center
P.O. Box 10765
Laguna Niguel, CA92607-1076

NEXT STEPS: USCIS Service Center staff will send you a Receipt Notice by mail within 2-3 weeks. It is estimated that your application should be processed within 90-120 days of receipt. You may not begin your employment until you have received your Employment Authorization Document from the USCIS.

RECEIPT OF EAD: Once you have received your Economic Hardship EAD card, please bring a copy of the card to the International Programs and Global Engagement office [Fax: (916) 278-7471]. Please note that EAD cards issued for Economic Hardship are automatically cancelled if you transfer to another institution or violate your F-1 status

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