Economic Hardship Off-campus Employment

The U.S. Government allows F-1 students who can document severe, unforeseen economic hardship to apply for permission to work off campus while enrolled as a full-time student.  It is one of the few work permits that allows F-1 students to work outside their field of study in any capacity off-campus.  Please note that it can take 90-120 days for the issuance of the economic hardship work permit through the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). It is authorized by USCIS in the form of an employment authorization card, valid for one year.

Code of Federal Regulations (CFR): 8 CFR 214.2 (f)(9)(ii)

Eligibility Requirements

The F-1 student should have been studying at George Mason University for one academic year as a full-time student in good academic standing and be maintaining F-1 status. In addition, the student would need to document how the financial support, as submitted for the issuance of the initial George Mason University I-20 is no longer available or has changed due to severe and unforeseen economic circumstances. To qualify, the student must prove that he/she has tried to find on-campus employment first.

Permitted Hours

If permission is granted a student may work up to 20 hours per week while school is in session and full-time during annual school vacations.

If you have questions about unforeseen economic hardship, consult with an OIPS advisor.  You can visit OIPS during walk-in hours or schedule an appointment.  Click here for more information.