Skip to content

Severe Economic Hardship

If you are suffering a severe economic hardship due to unforeseen changes in your financial circumstances, occurred after you gained F-1 status, you may apply to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for authorization to work off-campus. Source: [8 C.F.R. 214.2(f)(9)(ii)(C)-(D) and (F)].

These circumstances may include:
  1. Loss of financial aid or on-campus employment without fault on the part of the student, pointing to an external cause.
  2. Substantial fluctuations in the value of currency or exchange rate
  3. Inordinate major increases in tuition and /or living costs, or
  4. Unexpected changes in the financial condition of the student's source of support, medical bills, or other substantial and unexpected expenses

Eligibility Criteria
F-1 students are eligible to apply for employment based on severe economic hardship if:
  • The student has been in F-1 status at the University of Tampa for one full academic year
  • The student is in good academic standing and is taking a full course load
  • Employment will not interfere with the student's studies. Remember that you must continue to maintain full-load course.
  • The student can demonstrate that off-campus employment is the only choice to avoid severe economic hardship due to unforeseen economic circumstances beyond the student's control and that otherwise it would be impossible to continue studying.

How To Apply
First, please contact your International Student Advisor to verify your eligibility.

If approved, your International Student Advisor will issue you a new I-20 with a recommendation on page 2 for the Severe Economic Hardship, and give you instructions for how to apply to USCIS.

Carefully read and complete the application as instructed.

If Your Application Is Approved By USCIS
  • You may begin employment once you have your EAD card and the start date on the EAD card has been reached
  • You may be employed up to 20 hours per week when school is in session and full-time during breaks and your summer vacation
  • You may work in any job, it does not have to be related to your course of study
  • You must remain a full-time student (each fall and spring semester)
  • You must reapply to USCIS each year to renew this work authorization. For uninterrupted work authorization, you must apply early enough so that the EAD is received before the expiration date of the prior one, since continued employment past the prior expiration date during the pendency of an EAD extension request is not authorized. If you want to renew, USCIS recommends that you re-apply "at least ninety days - and not more than six months - before their current authorization expires"
  • Please note that transferring your SEVIS record to a new school would automatically cancel this employment authorization