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Work Off-Campus

F1 students can only work off-campus due to economic hardship. This requires an application to USCIS.

Few applications for economic hardship get approved.

How do I know if I'm eligible?

To be eligible, you must:

  • Prove that the change in your financial situation was beyond your control and occurred after you arrived on campus.
  • Explain that on-campus work options are insufficient.
  • Have maintained valid F1 status for at least one academic year before you can apply for economic hardship.

How do I apply?

To apply, you must submit the required forms and documents to the International Admissions Office:

  • Completed USCIS Form I-765 (Link will open in a new window)
  • Two passport-sized photos with your name, I-94 and SEVIS numbers written on the back of each photo with soft felt-tip pen
  • Money order or check for the I-765 fee made out to the "U.S. Department of Homeland Security"
  • Copies of your passport ID page, I-94, F1 visa stamp (if applicable), and all I-20s issued to you, including I-20s from U.S. institutions you may have attended before coming to TCC
  • Letter from you explaining your economic hardship and requesting work authorization
  • Copies of financial statements or other financial documents that indicate unexpected financial problems. For example, you may provide bank statements showing a sudden loss of finances.
  • Any other documentation that may support your case or prove financial hardship. This might include letters from home, news articles, or anything else that supports your case.

Review our checklist (PDF)Listen to make sure you have everything completed. If your application is complete, the International Admissions Office will provide you with instructions for mailing your application to USCIS.

What happens after I submit my application?

It takes about three months for USCIS to process economic hardship applications. Our office will notify you of the decision as soon as we know it. Approval is not guaranteed. Applications can be denied if they are incomplete or the student failed to sufficiently prove an economic hardship beyond the student's control.

If USCIS approves the work authorization, an EAD (Employment Authorization Document) will be issued. You can only work for the specified dates on the EAD card. You can work at any job anywhere, whether related to your degree program or not. Authorization is granted for a maximum of one year.

While you work, you are still expected to enroll in classes at TCC. During class sessions, you can only work up to 20 hours per week. You can work full-time during summer and school breaks.

If you lose your F1 status, work authorization is immediately terminated.

Updated July 22, 2020