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Economic Hardship for International Students

Economic Hardship

The severe economic hardship employment authorization benefit is intended to address unforeseen situations where a financial need beyond the student's control arises and after all other potential employment opportunities have proven to be insufficient.


You are eligible to file for Economic Hardship if you meet all of the following conditions.

  • Must have been enrolled as a full-time student for at least one academic year
  • Have severe financial need due to circumstances that are beyond your control
  • Are in good academic and immigration standing

Job offer

With this authorization, you can work off-campus in any job 20 hours per week while school is in session, and full-time (40 hours per week) during school breaks.

Starting work

You cannot begin work until you receive the EAD card (Employment Authorization Document) or before the beginning date listed on your EAD card.


This employment authorization is granted by USCIS in increments of one year at a time or until the program end date; whichever is shorter.


You must reapply to USCIS each year to renew this work authorization. If you need uninterrupted work authorization, you must apply at least 90 days and no more than six months before your current authorization expires.


If you transfer to another school or fail to maintain your immigration status, the employment authorization is terminated.

Notification Responsibilities

You are required by immigration to report a change of contact information to the Multicultural Center within 10 days. You must notify us of any change in employment.

How to Apply

  • Submit a complete Economic Hardship packet to the Multicultural Center
  • The Multicultural Center will review your application and update your I-20 to reflect a recommendation for Economic Hardship. This may take up to 10 working days.

Submitting Your Application Packet

Submit the following materials to the Multicultural Center:
  • Completed form I-765 (Application for Employment Authorization). Respond to question no. 16 by writing "(C)(3)(iii)" for Severe Economic Hardship
  • A letter from the student explaining the circumstances of the hardship
  • $410.00 non-refundable money order or check made payable to "U.S. Department of Homeland Security" (Note: Personal checks must be pre-printed with the name of the bank and the account holder. Also, the account holder's address and phone number must be pre-printed, typed or written in ink on the check. All checks must be typed or written in ink.)
  • Copies of your valid passport and I-94 (front and back). (Note: Nonimmigrants admitted under the electronic I-94 system should go to the CBP website at https://i94.cbp.dhs.gov/I94/#/recent-search to retrieve I-94 admission number and to print a copy of his/her admission record.)
  • Two color photos with a white background taken no earlier than 30 days before submission to the USCIS. (A photographer familiar with passport photos can help you.) Lightly print your name, date of birth and SEVIS I.D. number, if known, on the back of each photo with a pencil.
  • Copy of the previously issued EAD for renewal if applicable
  • Copy of Form I-20 with a recommendation for Economic Hardship employment
  • Schedule an appointment with one of the international student advisors to review your packet.

You are responsible for making two sets of copies of all documents before mailing originals to the USCIS via Certified or Registered Mail. One set will remain at the Multicultural Center and you should keep the second set for your files.

  • Send to the USCIS Dallas Lockbox at the following address:
    ​For U.S. Postal Service Deliveries:
    P.O. Box 660867
    Dallas, TX 75266


    For Express Mail and Courier Deliveries:
    ATTN: I-539
    2501 S. State Highway 121 Business
    Suite 400
    Lewisville, TX 75067