Economic HardshipF-1 and J-1 students who experience economic hardship after beginning their program of study in the U.S. may be able to apply for off campus work authorization. There are two types of employment benefits that students may apply for if they are eligible; Severe Economic Hardship, or Special Student Relief (SSR.)
F-1 Severe Economic Hardship
F-1 students may request off-campus employment authorization based upon severe economic hardship caused by unforeseen circumstances beyond their control. These circumstance may include:
- Loss of financial aid or on-campus employment
- Substantial fluctuations in the value of currency or exchange rate
- Significant increases in tuition and/or living expenses
- Unexpected changes in the main source of financial support
Severe Economic Hardship employment authorization is granted in one year intervals and is limited to 20 hours per week while school is in session,or can be full-time during official school breaks.
It can take 3 to 5 months for this type of application to be processed. Students will not be able to work off-campus until the application is approved and they have received an Employment Authorization Document (EAD.)
To be eligible for off-campus employment due to severe economic hardship, a student must be in lawful F-1 status for at least one academic year and be able to demonstrate the following:
- That employment is necessary to avoid severe economic hardship
- That your economic hardship is due to unforeseen circumstances beyond your control
- That you have made a good faith effort to find a job on campus
- That on-campus jobs were either unavailable or insufficient to meet your need
Documentation requirements for this type of application are detailed. Students must provide supporting evidence such as affidavits and documents that detail the unforeseen and severe economic circumstances.
This evidence may include but is not limited to:
- Medical bills and records
- Employment termination letters
- Bank/credit records
- Evidence of loss of scholarship
- Tuition statements
- That on-campus employment is unavailable or insufficient;
- That the student is in good academic standing and enrolled in a full course of study
- That acceptance of employment will not interfere with the student carrying a full course of study.
This type of application is only approved when the economic hardship is completely documented and unforeseen.
If you feel that you meet the above criteria for Economic Hardship, please contact the ISSO to make an appointment to discuss your case with your ISSO Advisor.
You will need to submit an application to USCIS and provide the following:
● A letter explaining the severe economic hardship
● A recommendation from your ISSO Advisor
● Form I-765 and fee
● Copy of Form I-20 recommending Economic Hardship Work Authorization
● Other documentation proving severe economic hardship
J-1 Severe Economic Hardship
J-1 students sponsored by Brandeis University may request off-campus employment authorization based upon Severe Economic Hardship due to serious, urgent, and unforeseen economic circumstances which have arisen since acquiring exchange visitor status.
These circumstances may include:
● Loss of financial aid
● Unexpected changes in your chief means of financial support
● Unexpected medical bills (this must be well documented)
J-1 students sponsored by other organizations must consult directly with that organization.
Severe Economic Hardship employment authorization is granted in one year intervals
and is limited to 20 hours per week while school is in session,or can be full-time during
official school break
If you feel that you meet the above criteria for Economic Hardship, please contact the
ISSO to make an appointment to discuss your case with your ISSO Advisor.
This type of authorization is granted by an ISSO Advisor if the J-1 visa holder is sponsored by Brandeis University.
- A copy of Form DS-2019.
- A letter explaining the nature of the economic situation and how it is serious,
urgent, and unforeseen.
- Documentation demonstrating why or how the financial situation has changed, such as a letter from a funders who is no longer able to offer funding, documentation of recent currency devaluation, evidence of a major event that has affected funding, etc.
- Detailed projected budget for the time period for which employment authorization is requested outlining tuition, housing, personal expenses, and any existing funding (personal savings, scholarships, family funds, etc.)
- Copy of an unofficial transcript (available in Workday) demonstrating good academic standing
- Photocopy of paper or print-out of the most recent Form I-94.
Special Student Relief (SSR)
Special Student Relief (SSR) may be available to certain F-1 students experiencing severe economic hardship due to emergent conditions — such as civil unrest, economic crisis, natural disasters, or other circumstances in their country of citizenship (or in certain cases, residence). If granted, SSR removes certain types of restrictions on F-1 employment and may allow authorized students to reduce their course load below full-time. Please see the information below and talk to your ISSO advisor if you have any questions.
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