If you are suffering a severe economic hardship due to unforeseen changes in your financial circumstances, you may apply to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for authorization to work off-campus.
Examples of unforeseen circumstances:
- Loss of financial support or on-campus employment
- 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 your source of support, such a loss of a family business
- Excessive medical bills
The employment authorization is granted by USCIS in increments of one year at a time. The authorization allows you to work for any employer up to 20 hours per week while you are registered full-time. It also allows you to work more than 20 hours per week during quarter breaks and your annual vacation quarter. This employment does not affect your eligibility for Optional Practical Training (OPT). Employment authorization is automatically terminated if you graduate, fail to maintain status, or transfer to another school.
- You must have been in F-1 status for one academic year
- You must be in good academic standing
- You must document that on-campus employment opportunities are unavailable or insufficient to meet your financial needs.
How to apply:
Contact the International Student Liaison at WWU to discuss your situation before you complete the required documentation. Your adviser will determine your eligibility and assist you in completing the application and submitting it to USCIS. Required documentation includes:
- Form I-765 (write (c)(3)(iii) in item 16)
- Form I-765 filing fee paid by money order, personal check, cashier’s check, or credit card using Form G-1450, Authorization for Credit Card Transactions. If you pay by check, you must make your check payable to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
- Photocopy of Form I-20, with your ISS adviser’s recommendation for economic hardship employment
- Two passport style photos
- Photocopy of I-94 card (front and back)
- A letter describing your financial difficulties and why on-campus employment opportunities are unavailable or insufficient; include supporting evidence
- Photocopy of passport identification page
- Photocopy of visa page
- Photocopies of any previously-issued EAD cards
If your I-765 mailing address is in Washington state (including UW ISS) mail the entire application to:
PO Box 21281
Phoenix, AZ 85036
Application processing times vary between two to four months. Do not begin working until you receive the Employment Authorization Document (EAD).