Severe Economic Hardship Work Authorization

The Economic Hardship Work Authorization is a type of work authorization granted for internationals in severe economic need. In order to be eligible for this work authorization, the student must prove that circumstances beyond his/her control have caused a severe economic hardship and these circumstances arose after he/she obtained F-1 or J-1 status. Such circumstances might include the death or severe financial loss of the student’s financial sponsor, devaluation of the currency in which the student’s funding for study is held, etc. The student must currently be in good standing as a student and have been in status for at least one academic year.

Employment authorized under Economic Hardship may be used on- or off-campus, but is limited to 20 hours per week during the fall and spring semesters. Students may work full-time during official breaks such as winter break, spring break, and summer break. Work does not have to be related to the student’s field of study and does not affect eligibility for OPT, CPT, or Academic Training.

  • For students on an F-1 visa, the work authorization will be granted directly by Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and will come in the form of an EAD (Employment Authorization Document) card from USCIS. The cost of application is $380.
  • For students on a J-1 visa, the works authorization will be granted by UMW CIE and will come in the form of an authorization letter. Except in extreme circumstances, exchange students are not eligible for this type of work authorization.

If you believe that you could qualify for Severe Economic Hardship, make an appointment with a CIE advisor to discuss the procedures to request this kind of work authorization.