Severe Economic Hardship


Student must have been in F-1 status for one full academic year and currently in good standing as a student. Student must prove that employment is necessary due to severe economic hardship caused by circumstances beyond his or her control that arose after obtaining F-1 status. Retirement of your sponsor is not a valid reason to apply.


Is designed for off-campus employment but can be done on-campus.


Granted by U.S.C.I.S. in increments of one year at a time or until the program end-date, whichever is shorter; authorization ends when a student transfers his or her SEVIS record to another institution.

Hours per week

Whether a student is working on or off-campus, students are not allowed to work more than 20 hours per week while classes are in session. During summer and winter break periods, students may work full-time.

Field/level of work

Can be in any job - does not have to be related to course of study.

Approval process

Must apply for an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) from U.S.C.I.S. with the assistance of the Designated School Official (DSO).

Important Note

Student cannot begin employment until he or she receives the EAD from U.S.C.I.S.

How to apply

Complete the forms in the Severe Economic Hardship packet in full and then make an appointment to see a DSO at CIS during appointment times. Bring completed forms and the items listed below with you to your appointment:


  1. Completed I-765, follow instructions on completing form.
  2. Copy of current form I-20 (page 1 and 3).
  3. Copy of I-94 card both front and back or click here.
  4. Copy of U.S. visa.
  5. Two (2) full frontal view photos against a white background with your I-94 number written on the back in pencil.
  6. Copy of valid passport.
  7. Application fee: $410.00 check or money order payable to “Department of Homeland Security”. (subject to change)
  8. Letter in English from your sponsor explaining why promised funds are no longer available (if applicable).
  9. Letter from student describing the unforeseen hardship situation and, if possible, should attach supporting documentation; for example, a copy of the sponsor’s death certificate or proof of a currency devaluation in the student’s country. This letter should also mention why other employment opportunities are unavailable or insufficient.
  10. A completed budget form comparing income (sponsorship money, on-campus job) versus expenditures (tuition, fees, rent, etc.). See example of form to use.
  11. Bring all past EAD/work permit cards with you to the appointment.

General Instructions

CIS will mail the application to U.S.C.I.S. using the return address of the University to facilitate the return of the EAD card to you. Always leave your current address and phone number on file at CIS. Any mailing other than regular mail (i.e. registered, certified, etc.) must be paid in advance by the student.

The U.S.C.I.S. estimates a minimum of 100 days for processing and often takes much longer. CIS will contact you when your receipt or EAD card is received.

Instructions for filling out FORM I-765 Application for Employment Authorization

You must complete all items (1-16), read, sign and date the certification section.

Item Important Information
I am applying for: Check “permission to accept employment,” or renewal,” if you are extending a previously approved program.
#3 “Local Address” Please use the Center for International Studies’ address. If you were to move when your card arrives, the Nebraska Service Center will not forward your mail. Instead, your card would be returned. Here is the address: Center for Int’l Studies, 720 Fourth Avenue South, LH 101, St. Cloud, MN 56301
# 9 “Social Security Number” The number appearing on your social security card. Do NOT use your I-94 or your SCSU identification number.
# 10 “Alien Registration Number (I-94 number)” Use the eleven-digit identification number on your I-94 card (in upper left corner of the card.)
# 11 “Previous employment authorization from U.S.C.I.S.” Check “yes” only if you submitted an application directly to U.S.C.I.S. (for example, for optional practical training, internship with an international organization, or severe economic hardship). Do not include on-campus employment or curricular practical training that was authorized by a university. Consult the CIS staff for appropriate language if you have ever applied for employment authorization from U.S.C.I.S.
#’s 12-15 “Last entry and current status” Obtain this information from your current I-94.
#16 For SEH, the Code should be (c) (3) (iii).