Employment Based On Severe Economic Hardship


The student must meet these eligibility criteria:

  • Student has been in F-1 status for two semesters at current degree level
  • Student is in good academic standing with KU (minimum 2.0 G.P.A.)
  • Student is maintaining F-1 status, including pursuing a full course of study
  • Other employment opportunities (such as on-campus employment) are not available or are otherwise insufficient
  • Student has severe economic hardship caused by unforeseen circumstances beyond the student’s control. Acceptable financial circumstances may include:
    • Loss of financial aid
    • Loss of 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
    • Other substantial and unexpected expenses

​​How to Apply

  1. Write a cover letter thoroughly explaining your personal situation and assemble documentation to demonstrate your severe economic hardship.  The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services will only consider severe economic hardship which is due to unforeseen circumstances beyond the student's control.  Documentary evidence might include such items as:  
    • medical bills
    • letters from family about loss of support, an illness in the family, political or natural catastrophe
    • bank statements
    • newspaper, magazine publications or verification from bank indicating a significant devaluation of home country’s currency
    • statements concerning loss of financial aid or sponsorship
  2. Put together a budget showing your income, expenses and the economic shortfall warranting a work permit.
  3. Complete USCIS Form I-765:  Download from http://www.uscis.gov/ under Forms > I-765. Type in your answers before printing the I-765.  Use the category code (c)(3)(iii) in section number 16 of the form.  Print and sign in blue ink.
  4. OPTIONAL: ALSO COMPLETE USCIS FORM G-1145 while on the I-765 webpage. This form allows you to provide an email address to receive an email and/or a cell phone number to receive a text message when your application is received by the U.S. government.Type your answers before printing the form. 
  5. Make an appointment with an ISS Advisor.  Please allow 60-90 minutes for the appointment.  Bring: your personal letter, a simple budget, a completed I-765 (and G-1145, if desired), documentary evidence of your financial hardship, your passport, visa, and I-94.
  6. An ISS advisor will review the documents and check your immigration status.  If the advisor thinks you are eligible to apply for work authorization based on severe economic hardship, then the advisor will update your SEVIS record and create a new I-20 for you.       
  7. Apply directly to the U.S. Government (USCIS) for an Employment Authorization Document (EAD). Students living in Kansas should send the following materials fastened together in the order listed below to:

    For US Postal Service:


    PO Box 21281

    Phoenix, AZ 85036


    For non-Postal Service (FedEx, UPS, etc.):

    USCIS Attn: AOS

    1820 E. Skyharbor Circle S, Suite 100

    Phoenix, AZ 85034

    1. $410 application fee; Check or money order made payable to "U.S. Department of Homeland Security".
    2. 2 photographs, passport style with name gently printed on the back, without damaging the photo.
      1. The government recommends placing the photo in a clear plastic 'ziploc' sandwich bag.
      2. Do NOT put a staple through the photo or trim the size of the photo.
    3. Form G-1145 (optional), typed and printed out.
    4. Form I-765 typed, printed out and signed (EAD is mailed to the address used on this form).
    5. Your letter thoroughly explaining your personal financial hardship.
    6. New I-20 (photocopy), signed by the ISS advisor on pages 1 & 2, AND signed by student on page 1.
    7. Documentary evidence of severe financial hardship.
    8. Your budget.
    9. Copies of your visa and I-94 (front & back).
    10. Copies of passport pages showing expiration date, your photo, name, and date of birth.
    11. It is also recommended to submit: 
      1. Transcripts verifying full-time enrollment.
      2. Copies of all previously issued EADs.

As always, it is recommended that you retain copies of all documents sent to and received from USCIS. Mail the application in a verifiable manner (e.g. certified, return receipt).

Employment must not begin until the Employment Authorization Document (EAD) is issued by USCIS.

Immigration Advising Hours

ISS is open 8:00am - 5:00pm Monday - Friday. 

Walk-in hours:
1:30pm-4:00pm Monday-Friday

Appointment hours:
9:00am-11:30am Tuesday-Friday
Walk-in vs. Appointment
Appointments are for matters ≥ 15 minutes.
Walk-in advising is for matters ≤ 15 minutes.
Walk-ins are on a first-come, first-served basis.

Walk-ins: Withdrawal from KU, concurrent enrollment, curricular practical training*, dependents, duplicate I-20 or DS-2019, extension for I-20*, financial update, J-1 on-campus work permit, reduced course load, social security number, transferring out, and any general questions.
Appointments: J-1 academic training, change of status, economic hardship, curricular practical training*, optional practical training, OPT STEM extension, reinstatement, and extension for I-20* or DS-2019.
*can be conducted during walk-in or by appointment.

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