Severe Economic Hardship

Conditions of Eligibility for Employment based on Severe Economic Hardship:

  1. Are in good academic standing
  2. Have been in F-1 status for at least one full academic year and have not filed for extension or transfer in the past 12 months.
  3. Are in valid status, that is,
    • your passport is valid at all times
    • the expected completion date on your I-20 has not expired
    • you have been authorized by the USCIS to attend Rutgers
    • you continuously pursue a full course of study
    • you follow procedures for moving from one educational level to another (e.g., from a Master's to a PhD) and for transferring from one school to another, i.e., obtaining a new I-20 and having the transfer completed properly at the OIS
    • you limit your total hours of on-campus employment to 20 hours per week while school is in session
    • you refrain from off-campus work without authorization
  4. Have severe economic hardship (see below)

What is "severe economic hardship"?
Severe economic hardship is a serious shortage of money to meet basic educational and living expenses which is caused by unforeseen circumstances beyond the student's control. These circumstances may include 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, unexpected changes in the financial condition of the student's source of support, medical bills, or other substantial and unexpected expenses.

How many hours per week can I work?
Employment is strictly limited to part-time, defined as 20 hours or less per week, while school is in session. You may work full-time between semesters when school is not in session. On-campus employment is included in the 20-hour total.

Where can I work?
Employment authorization based on economic hardship, once granted, does not restrict you to a specific job or location. You may work for as many employers as you wish, as long as the total number of hours does not exceed 20 hours per week while school is in session.

How do I apply?

  1. You must make an appointment to meet your international student advisor. Your advisor will help you determine if Economic Hardship applies to you and if so, you will be given the appropriate application forms.
  2. Bring the following documents with you when you meet with your international student advisor:
    • Completed Form I-765 [Item #16 should be completed by filling in the parenthesis with "(c)(3)(iii)."
    • Copy of unofficial transcript with your name on it (downloaded from the Rutgers website)
    • Copies of your passport, I-94 (front and back), and most current visa used to enter the U.S.
    • Copies of all I-20s issued to you
    • Supporting materials, such as detailed evidence that explains the unforeseen circumstances that require
    You to seek employment authorization. You should include documents which support your statement
    (newspaper articles, bank letters, medical or hospital bills, accident records, etc.). Changes in your finances should be related to statements in your most recent affidavit of support or sources of funds listed on your I-20. Although it is important that you present your case clearly and thoroughly, do not exaggerate your situation. False or inaccurate statements or claims that you are extremely poor could damage your case.
  3. Your international student advisor will assist you in filling out a budget sheet, showing your expenses and source(s) of income. She will then review your documentation of financial need, compare it to the original affidavit of support in your file or the affidavit on which your most recent I-20 was based, and, if your application meets regulatory criteria, she will recommend you for off-campus employment for the dates requested.