Economic Hardship


  • Economic Hardship for F-1 students is the USCIS program that provides permission for a student to work off campus for one year. Some basic information:
  • Economic Hardship is only granted if financial circumstances have changed.
  • An F-1 student can be approved for 12 MONTHS of Economic Hardship at one time, and can reapply for additional periods.
  • Economic Hardship is available to students who have been enrolled on a full-time basis in F-1 status for at least nine months.
  • During the period that the Economic Hardship is approved for, a student can work part-time during the Fall or Spring semesters, and full-time during the Summer semester and other vacation periods.
  • The job can be of any type; it does not have to be related to your course of study.
  • Economic Hardship is automatically terminated if you transfer to another school.


Make an appointment with Scott Parillo, and bring the following items:

1. Your present I-20.
2. Your passport (be sure the white I-94 card is in your passport).
3. Two recent passport-style photographs. Please note that the passport photos cannot be more than six months old and must be 2" x 2" in size. If you try to submit a photo that does not meet these requirements, it can be rejected and delay your application.
4. Check for $340.00 made payable to USCIS (U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services).
5. Your Social Security Number.
6. A letter describing the unforeseen hardship situation and why sufficient employment is not available on campus.
7. Documentation, if available, that supports your letter (like a letter from your sponsor, or proof that your currency has devalued).

During this meeting you will complete the application. In about two weeks the USCIS will send confirmation that the application has been received. The Employment Authorization Card (EAD) should be received in about eight to twelve weeks after that.

Passport Photos

Passport photos must be 2" x 2" and not more than six months old.

Passport photos can be taken in Ashland while you wait at the following places:

  • CVS Pharmacy, 418 East Main Street, Ashland, Tel: 419-289-9643
  • Gerald's Studio, 141 E. Main Street, Ashland, Tel: 419-281-0551
  • Drug Mart, 1631 Claremont Avenue, Ashland, Tel: 419-281-7880
  • Spectrum Photo Lab, 625 Claremont Avenue, Ashland, Tel: 419-289-6481 (closest to the university, beside Domino's Pizza)