Unforseen Severe Economic Hardship

Purpose of the Application

Certain non-immigrants may file a Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, to request an Employment Authorization Document (EAD). The EAD is evidence that the bearer is authorized to work in the United States. The USCIS adjudicates a request for employment authorization by determining whether an applicant (1) is eligible, and (2) has submitted the required information and documentation.

Information about Severe Economic Hardship

In order to be eligible for Severe Economic Hardship Authorization, the student must be enrolled as an F-1 student for one full academic year and prove to USCIS that economic hardship caused by circumstances beyond student’s control.

Scope of Employment under Severe Economic Hardship

• Student can work for 20 hours/week while school is in session and full-time during breaks on or off-campus.  The job does not need to be related to the student’s major.
• EAD (Employment Authorization Document) is granted to the student in increments of one year or until the end of the program, whichever is shorter.
• Authorization ends if student transfers schools or withdraws from current the current institution.
• Student must receive the EAD card before beginning employment.

Required Documentation to Submit

  • Completed Form I-765 using the code (c)(3)(iii) at item 16.
  • A statement written by the student describing unforeseen hardship situation and explanation of why other employment options are unavailable or insufficient.
  • Evidence or documentation proving unforeseen hardship (strongly recommended but optional).
  • Two identical "natural color" passport photos – These are U.S.-style passport photos – passport photos taken in your home country will probably not be acceptable. The photo should be no larger than 2 inches x 2 inches. Lightly print your name and your SEVIS number on the back of each photograph with a pencil to prevent problems should your photographs become separated from your I-765 application. You can have these photos done at the ID office located in Warch Campus Center.  ISS does not encourage you to attempt to take these photos yourself. For more details on the photograph specifications, please go to: http://www.uscis.gov/sites/default/files/files/form/i-765instr.pdf
  • A check or money waiver made out to U.S. Department of Homeland Security OR completed Form I-912 “Request for Fee Waiver.”  See “Fee” section below for more information.
  • Updated I-20 from International Student Services with DSO recommendation “Severe Economic Hardship employment recommended in accordance with 8 C.F.R. 214.2(f)(9)(ii)(C)”
  • Personal immigration documents:  Copy of passport ID page and most recent visa, I-94 (front and back or printed from https://i94.cbp.dhs.gov/I94/request.html), and copies of all previous EAD’s (if applicable).
Optional Documents to Submit
  • Letter from International Student Services summarizing and verify the student’s financial situation in support of application.
  • Form G-1145 (This is not a mandatory form, but this forms permits the USCIS to confirm receipt of your application via email or text message to you.)


The cost of filing the I-765 is $410.00. Personal checks or money orders must be in the exact amount and payable to "U.S. Department of Homeland Security." Personal checks are preferable to money orders because they can more easily be traced in case of problems.  If you would like to request a fee waiver, you must submit a completed Form I-912.

Where to File*:

*Filing addresses may change and may differ based on your geographic state of residence.  Please confirm filing address on the USCIS website or consult with ISS on any questions.

For U.S. Postal Service (USPS) deliveries:
PO Box 21281
Phoenix, AZ 85036

For Express mail and courier deliveries:
Attn: AOS
1820 E. Skyharbor Circle S
Suite 100
Phoenix, AZ 85034