Severe Economic Hardship

The US government may authorize certain F-1 students for work off-campus on a part-time basis due to Severe Economic Hardship in accordance with F-1 regulations. If other employment opportunities are not available or are otherwise insufficient, an eligible F-1 student may request off-campus employment work authorization based upon severe economic hardship 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.

The Designated School Official (DSO) at the school at which the F-1 student attends must make the initial confirmation of eligibility. The DSO may recommend the student for work off-campus for one-year intervals by certifying that:
(1) The student has been in F-1 status for one full academic year;
(2) The student is in good standing as a student and is carrying a full course of study;
(3) The student has demonstrated that acceptance of employment will not interfere with the student's carrying a full course of study; and
(4) The student has demonstrated that the employment is necessary to avoid severe economic hardship due to unforeseen circumstances beyond the student's control and has demonstrated that on-campus employment is unavailable or otherwise insufficient to meet the needs that have arisen as a result of the unforeseen circumstances.

To apply for SEH, please complete the request form and submit it with all evidence to The request form provides detailed descriptions of requested evidence. For more information or to discuss your options, please contact a Designated School Official (DSO) in the Office of International Affairs.

Request for Severe Economic Hardship Recommendation Form