USCIS states that circumstances deemed “severe economic hardship due to unforeseen circumstances beyond the student’s control” may include “loss of financial aid or on-campus employment without fault on the part of the student, substantial fluctuations in the value of the currency or exchange rate, inordinate increases in tuition and/or living costs, unexpected changes in the financial condition of the student’s source of support, medical bills, or other substantial and unexpected expenses.” Retirement of a parent or birth of a child are not considered unforeseen and will not qualify as reasons for economic hardship.
As an F-1 student, you are eligible to apply for off-campus employment based upon severe economic hardship provided that ALL of the following requirements are met:
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Procedure to Apply
To apply for off-campus employment based on unforeseen severe economic hardship, you must submit the following documentation to the International Student Advisor, International Student Services Office (ISS) in Welch Hall:
- A letter clearly describing the reasons you are applying for employment because of unforeseen severe economic hardship, including the explanation of how it was unforeseen.
- A letter from the Campus Employment Office stating that there is insufficient on-campus employment.
- Relevant supporting documentation to the claims you make in the letter. This may include charts indication valuation of the dollar.
- A letter from your academic adviser informing the International Student Advisor of ISS that off-campus employment will not interfere with your carrying a full course load based on their knowledge.
Bring these letters and documentation to the ISS office along with the items listed below:
- A copy of all current and previously issued Form I-20 A-B Copies. You will be issued a NEW SEVIS I-20 that will be mailed with the application.
- Form I-765 (Application for Employment Authorization). Note: Item #16 will be (C)(3)(iii).
- Fee of $380 (personal check is best; no cash); write your I-94 number at the top of the check. Make checks payable to DHS (Department of Homeland Security).
- Two (2) color photos. These photos must comply with the description enclosed or USCIS will not accept them and return your application. Lightly print your name and your I-94 number on the back of each photo with a pencil.
- Form I-94 card, visa, passport, and all previously issued I-20: ISS will help you make copies to send with application.
To see a complete description of the process visit the Department of State site.
The International Student Advisor will review your materials and copy all material to be sent to USCIS. You will be asked to return to sign the new SEVIS I-20, collect the packet and mail, in a traceable manner (such as certified mail with a return receipt verifying delivery), to:
Department of Homeland Security
Nebraska Service Center
P.O. Box 87765
Lincoln, NE 68501-7765
ISS will keep the delivery verification receipt as proof of delivery to INS.
USCIS will mail a Notice of Action - Form I-979. Keep this form in a safe place. If your application is not processed, you will need the LIN number of the Notice of Action in order to inquire about your application.
If employment is authorized, USCIS will issue and mail an Employment Authorization Document (EAD). You must use the ISS address for your address.
YOU CANNOT BEGIN EMPLOYMENT UNTIL YOU OBTAIN THE EAD. Employment authorization will be granted in one-year intervals up to the expected date of completion of your course of study. Off-campus employment based on severe economic hardship can only be renewed by USCIS and only if you continue to maintain lawful status and good academic standing. If your application is denied, USCIS will indicate the reason for the denial. A denial may not be appealed and your money will not be refunded.
Conditions and Restrictions of Employment
If USCIS authorizes your hardship employment application, you will receive an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) from USCIS granting you permission to work off-campus. Typically, permission is granted for one year or for the remainder of your academic program, whichever period is less. Please also note the following:
- You may work off-campus for up to 20 hours per week while school is in session and full time during vacation periods.
- You may work in any job, related or not related to your studies.
- You may not start employment until you have received an EAD or before the start date indicated on the EAD.
- Hardship employment does not count towards your ability to work on-campus or affect your eligibility for practical training.
- If you transfer to another institution, your EAD becomes invalid.
If you have any questions, contact the International Student Advisor at the International Student Services Office.
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Location and Office Hours
2504 19th Avenue
Kearney, NE 68849-5221
Monday - Friday
Office open: 8 am - 5 pm
Phone Hours: 8 am - 5 pm
Walk-in Advising hours: 8 am - 4:30 pm
Telephone: (308) 865-8953 Fax:( 308) 865-8947