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Economic Hardship

Who Qualifies/Eligibility

To be eligible to apply, students must:

  1. Have been in F-1 status for at least 9 months at the school they are currently attending.
    • If a reinstatement was required at the current school, 9 months must have passed from the date the reinstatement was granted.
    • If a change of status took place at the current school, the 9 months is counted from the date the F-1 status was approved.
  2. Be in good academic standing (not on probation)
  3. Be registered full-time.
  4. Demonstrate unforeseen economic need. The following circumstances qualify for unforeseen economic need according to USCIS:
    • Loss of financial aid, scholarship, or fellowship
    • Loss of an on-campus job
    • Large increase in tuition or living expenses
    • Unexpected changes in student's financial support
    • Medical bills
  5. Have attempted to find a job on campus. If currently working on campus, the student must indicate to USCIS why that job is not sufficient to meet the financial need, and also that the on-campus job will cease on a certain date.

The application for work authorization is made to USCIS. If the application is accepted, USCIS will issue an EAD card valid for one year (but not beyond the graduation date). Work is limited to 20 hours per week during the academic year, but may be full time in the summer. There is no restriction on the type of work. Renewals are possible, but the same application procedure must be followed. A transfer student who has an unexpired need-based employment card from another school may not use that card for employment while at UTA.

Step One

To begin the process of applying for economic hardship employment, you will need the following documents:

  1. USCIS form: I-765
  2. Request for a New I-20
  3. USCIS Fee: $410
  4. I-94: Copy of both sides of the I-94 for the applicant and any dependent(s) in the U.S
  5. Passport: Copy of identity page, showing the expiration date for the applicant
  6. Visa: Copy of visa page for applicant
  7. Proof of Current Status: Copy of current I-20
  8. Two passport style photos
  9. Economic need documentation Write a letter to USCIS requesting the work authorization and detailing the reasons why you must work. Include in the letter a list of assets and expenses for the next year.
  10. Supporting Evidence: Supporting the reasons given in the student's letter, such as:
    • Letter from the sponsor
    • Letter from the department indicating scholarship/assistantship will not be renewed
    • Doctor bills
  11. EAD cards: Copies of any previously issued EAD cards

Step Two

Within 7-10 business days, an International Education Advisor will contact you to set an appointment. At the appointment, you will:

  1. Sign your new SEVIS I-20.
  2. Provide any additional documentation requested by the International Education Advisor.
  3. Ask any questions you may have about the Economic Hardship employment authorization process.

Step Three

After the appointment, the International Education Advisor will mail the Economic Hardship application to USCIS for adjudication. Normal processing time is approximately 60-90 days. Students will be notified when their documents have been returned.


  1. It is the responsibility of the Office of International Education to review the materials submitted by the student and to review the student's records. It is also the responsibility of the OIE to provide information to the student and to advise to student how to prepare the application. It is the student's responsibility to make honest statements in the letter and submit genuine documents. If the documents are fraudulent or the student makes false statements to the USCIS, he has committed a criminal offense which may lead to severe penalties. Any employment authorization based on a fraudulent application is considered illegal employment
  2. If you reside outside the DFW metroplex you may refer to the mail in mail out process
  3. .