If other employment opportunities are not available or are otherwise insufficient, an eligible F-1 student may request employment authorization based on severe economic hardship caused by unforeseen circumstances beyond the student's control. These circumstances may include a loss of financial aid or on-campus employment without fault on the part of the student, substantial fluctuations in the value of currency or exchange rate, inordinate increases in tuition and /or living costs, or unexpected changes in the financial condition of the student's source of support, medical bills, or other substantial and unexpected expenses. Source: [8 C.F.R. 214.2(f)(9)(ii)(C)-(D) and (F)]

Eligibility Criteria

You are eligible to apply for employment based on severe economic hardship if:

  • You have been in F-1 status for one full academic year
  • You are in good academic standing and are taking a full course load
  • Employment will not interfere with your studies
  • You can demonstrate that the employment is necessary to avoid severe economic hardship due to unforeseen economic circumstances beyond your control

NOTE: You are required to have U-M approved health insurance while in F-1 status.

Documentation Needed to Apply

To apply for employment based on severe economic hardship, you must schedule an appointment with a UM-Flint International Center advisor, and bring the following documents to your appointment:

  • A completed a Severe Economic Hardship Request Form.
  • A personal statement describing the unforeseen hardship situation and, if possible, attach backup documentation; for example, news articles, a letter from home telling of a change in family circumstances or proof of a currency devaluation in your country, etc.
  • Completed Form I-765, using the code (C)(3)(iii) at item 16. Do not date the form until you are ready to send the application to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
  • Copies of your current and previous I-20s
  • Copy of your latest I-94 card (both sides)
  • Copy of your F-1 visa page (except Canadians) or I-797 (approval of change of status to F-1), if applicable
  • Copy of your unofficial transcript available from SIS

How to Apply for Severe Economic Hardship Employment

  • Schedule an appointment with a UM-Flint International Center advisor, and bring the documents listed in Documentation Needed to Apply to your appointment.
  • The UM-Flint International Center advisor will review your documents.
  • The UM-Flint International Center advisor will send your request to SEVIS electronically, and generate a new SEVIS I-20. The recommendation will be written on page 3 of the new I-20.
  • The UM-Flint International Center will notify you when your new SEVIS I-20 is available.
  • Bring your UM-Flint ID to the UM-Flint International Center front desk to pick up your new SEVIS I-20.
  • Sign your name on the I-20 immediately.
  • Send your request to USCIS. Refer to Submitting Your Severe Economic Hardship Request Application to USCIS below.