F-1 students are eligible to apply for off-campus work authorization based on economic hardship caused by unforeseen circumstances beyond the student’s control. According to USCIS, these circumstances may include:
Unexpected changes in the financial condition of the student’s source of support
Substantial fluctuations in the value of currency or exchange rate
Inordinate increase in tuition and/or living expenses
Other substantial and unexpected expenses
The student must have been in F-1 status for at least one full academic year, be in good academic standing (not on probation or suspension) and demonstrate that acceptance of employment will not interfere with the student’s carrying a full course of study.
For the application you will need:
A valid passport
Money order payable to Department of Homeland Security. Please check current fees at: http://www.uscis.gov
2 photos (Passport size) and print your name and I-94 number on the back of each photo with pencil.
Letter explaining the circumstances of your economic hardship and that you have unsuccessfully sought employment on campus. Also, mention the date you arrived in the U.S. as an F-1 student, that you have maintained your student status, dates of any previous employment, and that acceptance of employment will not interfere with your full course of study.
Itemized list of personal expenses
Documents supporting your claim to economic hardship (e.g. copies of medical bills)
The card is usually issued for one year and is only valid for the dates shown on the card. After the expiration of the card, you may reapply providing you meet the above stipulations. Employment authorization is automatically terminated if you fail to maintain status or transfer to another college or university. To apply, please schedule an appointment to discuss your qualifications with the International Student Advisor.