If you are an F-1 student, you are eligible for severe economic hardship employment if you are:

  • In F-1 status for at least one academic year
  • In good academic standing
  • In good legal status
  • Taking a full course of study and are demonstrating that acceptance of employment will not interfere with their full course of study
  • Able to demonstrate that employment is necessary to avoid severe economic hardship due to documented unforeseen circumstances beyond their control that arose after obtaining F-1 status
  • Able to demonstrate that on-campus employment is unavailable or otherwise insufficient to meet the needs that have arisen as a result of the unforeseen circumstances

If authorized by USCIS, F-1 students who are eligible for economic hardship employment are limited to no more than 20 hours per week when school is in session and can be unlimited during vacation periods. Employment may be authorized in periods of up to 12 months at a time. See below for application instructions and documentation requirements.

Instructions and Requirements

How to Apply +

Review this website for eligibility information and make an appointment to discuss your situation with an international student adviser

  • Be prepared to share documentation regarding your situation, such as a letter explaining the circumstance of the economic hardship and supporting materials documenting the unforeseen nature of the economic hardship.
  • If appropriate, your adviser will share information regarding necessary application materials and the next steps in the application process.
  • F-1 students must request a recommendation for economic hardship employment from an adviser at Rutgers Global–International Student and Scholar Services and then submit an application for work authorization to USCIS for approval. 
  • Applications to USCIS for economic hardship employment authorization require payment of a filing fee and take approximately three months for processing.

Proof of Employment Authorization +

When approved for severe economic hardship employment, F-1 students receive an employment authorization document (EAD) card displaying the relevant validity period. Employment is authorized only after you receive your EAD card, and you may begin work on the start date listed on your card.

Authorization for economic hardship employment is automatically cancelled if you transfer from one school to another or fail to maintain status.