Severe Economic Hardship

F-1 students who have been enrolled full-time, are in good academic standing, and holding F-1 status for a minimum of one academic year are eligible to apply for employment authorization due to economic hardship. Employment may be authorized for up to a maximum of one year and is limited to 20 hours per week during long academic semesters (full-time during vacation periods).

To qualify under this provision you must demonstrate that the employment is necessary to avoid severe economic hardship due to unforeseen circumstances beyond your control and that on-campus employment opportunities are unavailable or insufficient to meet your needs. Please note that it is extremely rare that UT F-1 students are granted severe economic hardship and even in extremely extenuating circumstances approval is not always granted.

Applying for Employment Authorization

To apply for employment authorization, please bring the following documents to International Student & Scholar Services:

  • Letter explaining severe economic hardship. In this letter, you should discuss the hardship situation, your effort to find on campus employment, and include a list of all income, assets, and expenses.
  • Evidence supporting your circumstances (medical records, exchange rates, news articles).
  • Passport, Visa, Current I-20
  • Current I-94
  • Typed and completed Form I-765 (PDF), signed in black ink
  • Two recent, passport-style photos on white background. The photos must be 2 x 2 inches; 1 inch from the hair to the chin and 1.25 inch from eye height to the bottom of the photo. Your name and I-94 number must be printed in pencil on the back of the photos. See an example photo.
  • Check or money order for $410 (Four hundred ten and 00/100) made payable to: Department of Homeland Security (do not write or make corrections in the upper portion of the check)

Documentation Review

An Immigration Advisor will review your documentation of economic hardship and if appropriate, will recommend authorization for a period of up to one year. International Student & Scholar Services will review your application and then you will mail it to U.S. Citizenship & Immigration and Services for processing.

USCIS can take up to 90 days or more to process an application for work authorization based on economic hardship.