Student Employment

International students must be approved to legally work on-campus or off-campus prior to starting the employment including internships.

General Employment Information

International Students may apply to on-campus job positions such as Student Worker (University Aid), Graduate Assistant and Resident Assistant. You may work only up to 20 hours per week when school is in session and up to 26 hours per week when school is not in session. When you are offered a position on campus, you must apply and obtain a Social Security Number and complete a New Hire packet in the Department of Human Resources.

You will need a letter from the Office of International Hosue and Programs before you may apply for Social Security Number. In order to request the approval letter from our office, please follow the steps below:

Step 1- Go to the link 

Step 2- Click on Letter for Social Security Office.

Step 3- Read the information. 

Step 4- Upload copy of your job offer letter from department. 

Step 5- Complete the form (leaving any section on the form blank may result in delay and/or denial of the request). 

Once student form is completed, automated email with link will be sent to the supervisor to complete the Recommendation Form. 

Step 6- Automated Letter will be sent to your email once we receive completed recommendation form from your supervisor.  

For Social Security Number, you must go to the Social Security office with the following documents:

  • Job Offer Letter from department
  • Approval Letter from International House and Programs
  • I-20/DS2019
  • Valid passport with valid visa stamp
  • I-94 record

Social Security Office Location:  801 Quintard Avenue, Anniston, AL 36201

http://www.ssofficelocation.com/anniston-social-security-office-so4

F-1 Students are not permitted to work off-campus unless the students apply and get approved for work authorization from USCIS and/or the Office of International House & Programs. An F-1 student may be authorized for off-campus employment under following circumstances:

Severe Economic Hardship: The severe economic hardship employment authorization benefit is intended to address situations where a financial need beyond the student's control arises, which was unforeseen at the time the student applied to the school he or she is currently attending and after all other potential employment opportunities have proven to be insufficient.

  • USCIS (United State Customs and Immigration Services) approval needed.

  • Must have been enrolled full time for at least one academic year.

  • Must be in good academic standing.

  • Provide evidence of economic hardship based on unforeseen circumstances beyond the student’s control.

  • Show that on-campus employment is not available or sufficient.

  • May not work more than 20 hours a week when school is in session.

Curricular Practical Training (CPT): CPT is designed to provide work experience directly related to and integral to a student’s field of study. It is not intended for general, ongoing work authorization. 

Optional Practical Training (OPT): OPT is an opportunity granted to F-1 students to work in their field of study. Students can apply for 12 months of OPT for each level of study (Bachelors, Masters, PhD). (STEM extension will apply to STEM qualified majors only)

Overview

A common misconception is that the only difference between employee and volunteer is, employees get paid and volunteers do not. According to U.S. labor laws, there is more to distinguish between employees and volunteers than whether an individual receives a regular paycheck. Work that is unpaid may still be considered employment for F-1 or J-1 status holders.

Employee: The definition of an employee used in the context of immigration regulations is as follows: “An individual who provides services or labor for an employer for wages or other remuneration”. Please note that the term “remuneration” is very broad and includes a variety of non-monetary benefits, such as free housing, food, gifts, etc.

Volunteer: According to the Department of Labor, a volunteer is: an “individual who performs hours of service… for civic, charitable, or humanitarian reasons, without promise, expectation or receipt of compensation for services rendered.”

To be considered a volunteer, the work performed by the individual must meet all the following criteria:

  • No expectation of compensation.
  • The volunteer cannot displace a genuine employee.
  • The services provided by the volunteer should not be the same services for which he or she was previously paid and/or expects to be hired and paid for in the future.
  • Services are performed for a non-profit organization for public service, religious or humanitarian objective.
  • Work at a for-profit entity is considered employment and must be for pay. The only exception is made for training programs where the trainee functions, to some degree, like an employee, but is under close supervision and provides no significant measurable work for the employer. The trainee must not take the place of a paid employee. For example, students who are considered student interns may engage in unpaid internships at for-profit organizations.

  

Volunteering or Unpaid Internship

Please note that there is a difference between volunteering and engaging in an unpaid internship.

As explained above, volunteering refers to donating time with an organization whose primary purpose is charitable or humanitarian in nature, without remuneration or any other type of compensation. F-1 and J-1 students are free to engage in volunteer work as long as it meets the above criteria. For example, it would be okay to volunteer at a local homeless shelter, charitable food pantry, or American Red Cross.

Unpaid internships, on the other hand, do not qualify as “volunteer” activity. Internships, both paid and unpaid, are primarily offered by the private sector and related to the intern’s major field of study.

U.S. Department of Labor Rules for Volunteering

U.S. Department of Labor is concerned both with the protection of jobs for United States citizens, and with the prevention of exploitation of workers. They have created laws to ensure that employment that should be paid is not done for free. While both you and the employer may be happy with an unpaid arrangement (for example, you may be eager to work even on an unpaid basis in a company in order to gain job experience), this may be considered an unfair arrangement in cases where the work is normally performed by a paid person and both the company and the employee are benefitting from the employment.

To determine whether an individual is a true volunteer engaged in “ordinary volunteerism” the Department of Labor considers a number of factors. No single factor is determinative. The factors include:

  • Is the entity that will benefit/receive services from the volunteer a nonprofit organization?
  • Is the activity less than a full-time occupation?
  • Are the services offered freely and without pressure or coercion?
  • Are the services of the kind typically associated with volunteer work?
  • Have regular employees been displaced to accommodate the volunteer?
  • Does the worker receive (or expect) any benefit from the entity to which it is providing services?

As you can see the regulations are strict. If you have further questions, please review the information above with your advisor.

International Students are eligible to apply for Social Security Number (SSN) only if they have on-campus job offer or have obtained CPT and OPT approval.

Document needed by the Office of International House and Programs to issue the Letter for Social Security Office:

  • Job Offer Letter from department
  • F-1/J-1 acknowledgement letter - student form. Once student form is completed, automated email with link will be sent to the supervisor to complete the Recommendation Form.

Document needed for Social Security Number, you must go to the Social Security office with the following documents:

  • Job Offer Letter from department
  • Approval Letter from International House and Programs
  • I-20/DS2019
  • Valid passport with valid visa stamp
  • I-94 record

Social Security Office Location:  801 Quintard Avenue, Anniston, AL 36201

http://www.ssofficelocation.com/anniston-social-security-office-so4

Curricular Practical Training (CPT)

F-1 students may apply for Curricular Practical Training (CPT) when seeking off-campus work/internships related to their current degree.

U.S. immigration regulation requires international students to obtain authorization before engaging in any training activities such as but not limited to “alternate work/study, internship, cooperation education, or any other type of required internship or practicum which is offered by sponsoring employers through cooperative agreements with the school”. This applies even if the training is required towards degree.

CPT is designed to provide work experience directly related to and integral to a student’s degree of study. It is not intended for general, ongoing work authorization. Traditional volunteer work (e.g. at a soup-kitchen, homeless shelter) does not require CPT authorization. For more information, refer to the section on Employment and Volunteering.

However, any work or internship, even unpaid, requires CPT authorization PRIOR to a student’s participation in the work experience.

Note that U.S. immigration defines employment as any opportunities when a person is gaining knowledge paid or not paid.

  • CPT-Curricular Practical Training:
    • CPT must be an integral part of an established curriculum and directly related to the student’s major area of study.
    • CPT cannot be authorized for work in a field related to the student’s minor emphasis or previous major.
    • CPT must be conducted during the degree program.
    • CPT must be approved by the student’s academic department/advisor.
    • CPT must also be approved by the Co-Op advisor in addition to the academic department/advisor when Co-Op option is pursued.
  • Student:
    • The student must have been lawfully enrolled on a full-time basis for at least one full academic year before participating in CPT.
    • The student must continue to maintain full-time status for the duration of the CPT.
    • The student must continue to make normal degree progress while participating in CPT. This could require coursework during the CPT period.
    • The student must have secured a job/internship offer.
    • The student must obtain academic department/advisor’s approval.
    • English Language Institute (ELI) and Non-Degree Students are not eligible for Curricular Practical Training.

Having studied “one full academic year” is an eligibility component of F-1 benefits such as CPT, OPT and economic hardship.

U.S. immigration regulations define “academic year” for these purposes, as follows:

Duration:

An "academic year" of F-1 study must include a minimum duration of:

30 weeks of instructional time for a program offered in credit hours (usually equivalent to 2 semesters (Fall + Spring).

Intensity:

In addition to the duration requirements above, an F-1 student in an undergraduate program is expected to complete the following number of credit hours during the academic year:

24 semester credit hours

Note: time spent on OPT does not qualify towards academic year as student has not maintained full-time enrollment. The academic year counting will start over once the student returns to degree program and enrolled full-time. 

There are three conditions under which, students can seek to apply for CPT

  • Required for graduation: when the academic program mandates practical work experience for all students in order to graduate. Required internships do necessitate CPT and the student needs to register for course credit (as determined by the academic program) in order for the office of International House & Programs to authorize* the CPT experience.
  • Integral part of an established curriculum: it means that the internship is not a required part of the program’s curriculum, but the internship is considered integral to the academic experience (e.g. highly recommended but not required for graduation). In this case, a student must register for at least one credit hour per semester of internship experience in order for the office of International Programs to authorize* the CPT experience.
  • Co-Op program: the student may seek Co-Op opportunity offered through the JSU Career Services. Co-Op program must meet eligibility criteria of CPT listed above. If approved by JSU Career Services, the student must be registered for the Co-Op in order for the International House & Programs Office to authorize* CPT experience.

*after review that all other eligibility criteria are met

Note: You may not use incomplete courses or deferred grades from a previous semester for CPT authorization.  For CPT which requires course credit, the credit must be earned in the semester in which CPT will be authorized.

Withdrawing from or dropping credits that are tied to CPT work authorization immediately cancels the CPT authorization.

CPT is authorized by semester (Fall, Spring, Summer). Therefore, students must submit a new CPT request, including all the necessary documents, for each semester, including summer session(s). 

Note: Renewal of CPT is considered as a new request. When CPT authorization is coming to an end, student will not be eligible to continue work/internship opportunity after expiration and until new authorization is granted.

  • Participation in CPT may begin on or after the first day of the semester. CPT must end before the first day of the following semester. For example, CPT can be extended through the winter break, but must be complete before the first day of spring semester. Spring semester CPT must end before the first day of summer session, and so on.
  • Summer CPT: students will be limited by the session in which they register their experience (e.g. registration for full summer will allow for CPT authorization for full summer; registration for first summer will only cover dates from the day after spring semester through the last day of the first summer session; registration for second summer session will cover CPT authorization from the first day of second summer session through the day prior to the start of fall semester classes).

Part Time vs. Full Time CPT

  • Part-time CPT: Employment for 20 hours or less per week is considered part-time. You must be simultaneously enrolled in classes full-time and be physically present on campus in order to maintain lawful F-1 status during fall and spring terms.
  • Full-time CPT: Employment for more than 20 hours per week is full-time. Please be aware that 12 months or more of full-time CPT will eliminate your eligibility for Optional Practical Training (OPT). During fall and spring terms, you must be enrolled full-time or have an approved Reduced Course Load (RCL).

Note: A student may participate in CPT as much as their program will allow and their academic department, Co-Op advisor and immigration advisor will authorize.

CPT application is processed online via International Programs page. No appointment with the Office of International House & Programs is required. All necessary information is available on the International Programs page as well.

Steps

  1. Secure and receive a job offer related to your major areas of study.
  2. Initiate the online CPT request located in the Current Students Section under Work Authorizations
  3. Upload a digital copy of the official offer letter* in the Documents section of your CPT request.
  4. Send an electronic recommendation request to your academic department/advisor. Make sure to previously discuss and explain your internship intent to your recommender as she/he will be required to verify some information, such as but not limited to employer info, etc. Note that incomplete recommendation will not be accepted.
  5. If your internship is required for graduation or an integral part of an established curriculum, upload a copy of the syllabus of the credit bearing course tied to the CPT opportunity.
  6. If your CPT involves the Co-Op program, you will need to meet with the Co-Op advisor in the office of Career Services and follow their process. Upon approval from Co-Op advisor, recommendation from the Co-Op advisor will be collected.
  7. Upload proof that you have registered your CPT experience for credit in the semester(s) it will occur. (e.g., registration form or printout of your course registration screen) in the Documents section of your CPT request.

Once CPT request is complete and has been submitted, the Office of International House & Programs will be reviewing it. Processing may take 5-10 business days. Electronic notification will be sent to your JSU email once decision has been reached. If approved, the CPT work authorization will be added to the second page of the I-20.

Engaging in work/internship activity without this authorization is illegal and a violation of status that will result in termination of your F-1 SEVIS record.

Note: students completing clinicals or practicum must obtain and upload a detailed letter from their clinical director listing the various employers being involved that particular term.

*Offer letter-detailed training description 

Your employer or company must officially offer you a training opportunity. Ask your employer to write a Detailed Training Description on your offer letter.

It must:

  • Be written on the company's letterhead
  • Be addressed to you
  • Include job title
  • Provide a detailed job description (at least a few sentences describing specific duties, tasks, goals, etc.)
  • Specify the street address where employment will take place (street, city, state, and zip code). If you will work remotely, the letter should specify this and list the company’s physical address.
  • Specify number of hours per week you will work
  • Specify start and end dates of CPT employment (keep in mind that CPT can only be authorized one term at a time).

A standard job offer letter may not contain the required information. Please ensure your Detailed Training Description contains all details. Sample Offer Letter

CPT and On-Campus Employment

On-campus employment and CPT are considered two different benefits.
CPT hours do not count towards the 20 hours on-campus employment.
The following scenario may apply:
  • A combination of part-time off-campus CPT and on-campus employment may be allowed.
  • A combination of full-time off-campus CPT and on-campus employment may be allowed as long as it is not detrimental to the student’s academic success, immigration status and health and well-being.
  • A combination of part-time on-campus CPT and on-campus employment may be allowed. However,
  • A combination of full-time on campus CPT and on-campus employment may not be allowed.

CPT and Graduate Students

The regulations state that "exceptions to the one academic year requirement are provided for students enrolled in graduate studies that require immediate participation in curricular practical training."
Important things to note about this exception:
  • This exception only applies to students enrolled in graduate studies that require immediate participation in internships, practicums, or other experiential learning.
  • This exception is not available for students enrolled in undergraduate studies, or to graduate students whose studies do not require immediate training.
  • This exception is available only for curricular practical training, not optional practical training.

CPT and I-20 Extension

Students should verify that participation in CPT will not interfere with their ability to take courses required for degree completion that may not be taught in subsequent semesters prior to the program end date indicated on their I-20. CPT should not delay degree completion beyond the program end date listed on the Form I-20. Immigration regulations do not allow I-20 extensions due to delay caused by participation in CPT.

CPT and Unpaid Internships

While the issue of volunteering may seem simple- “I’m not getting paid, so that means I am volunteering”- it is a complex area where immigration regulations and labor laws intersect. If you are interested in volunteering, you must be aware of the relevant regulations so that you do not violate any laws and participate in unauthorized employment. If you are an international student in F-1 or J-1 status, please remember that any off-campus employment for F-1 or J-1 students must be authorized!

Without proper work authorization, off campus employment would be considered a violation of your F-1 requirements. The consequences would most likely include loss of legal immigration status in the U.S., possible deportation by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, and great difficulty in any future attempts to acquire a visa to enter the U.S.

Repeated CPT

Repeated CPT opportunity for the same employer or in the same capacity will not be approved if the student repeats the same responsibilities and duties. The student will be responsible to submit an employer statement listing the duties and responsibilities not covered during previous internship.

Co-Op may be approved for maximum of 2 semesters during student's undergraduate program. 

Co-Op may be approved for only 1 semester during student's graduate program. 

Optional Practical Training (OPT)

Pre-completion OPT allows F-1 students to make an application for work authorization in their field of study prior to their graduation. Application package may be sent to the USCIS up to 90 days prior to the proposed start date. 

How to Apply: Application can be accessed by logging into International Programs page

Form I-765 Instruction   
Student, as the applicant, is responsible for his/her own OPT application. Students must review the full instructions available on the USCIS I-765 page.

Important Information:   

  • Students must have been enrolled full time for at least one academic year

  • Students must be registered in full-time hours and maintaining status.

  • Students may work only up to 20 hours a week when school is in session.

  • Students may work up to 40 hours a week during official school breaks, summer and interims if student is not enrolled in any classes. 

  • Any changes in employment from part-time to full time or vice versa needs to be approved. Reapplication is required.

  • Students should secure employment in a job directly related to their field of study.

  • Students may start working only after receiving the EAD card.

  • Students may work on-campus and do Pre-completion OPT as long as the total number of hours do not exceed 20 hours.

  • Number of days worked during Pre-completion OPT counts against the 365 days of full-time eligibility during Post-completion OPT. For example: If you work part-time for 3 months, 1 and ½ months will count against the 12 months of Post-completion OPT.

  • Students are not eligible for the 24 month STEM Extension.

  • Students are not Eligible for the cap-gap extension.

Post-completion OPT allows F-1 students to make an application for work authorization in their field of study after their graduation. Application package may be received by the USCIS up to 90 days before your program completion date, but no later than 60 days after the program completion date on your I20 . 

How to Apply: Application can be accessed by logging into International Programs page

Form I-765 Instruction 
Student, as the applicant, is responsible for his/her own OPT application. Students must review the full instructions available on the USCIS I-765 page.

Standard OPT Calculator (Excel Document)

Important Information:

  • Students on OPT cannot exceed 90 days of unemployment.

  • Students switching jobs are allowed 10 days of unemployment that does not count towards accruing unemployment.

  • Students must report to the Immigration Advisor at JSU the employer’s name, address and other relevant information and ask for updated I20.

  • Students must inform Immigration Advisors of any changes in employment within 10 days of the change.

  • Students can work full time.

  • Students are eligible for the cap-gap extension.


Student, as the applicant, is responsible for his/her own OPT application. Students must review the full instructions available on the USCIS webpage.

How to Apply: Application can be accessed by logging into International Programs page

Form I-765 Instruction 

Form I-983 Instruction

24 Month STEM OPT Calculator (Excel Document)

Important Information: 

  • Student major must be listed as STEM qualified majors on Immigration website

  • Students must have a job offer to apply for the STEM extension. Employer must be enrolled in the Federal E-verify program.

  • Application must be received by USCIS before the end date on Post-completion OPT.

  • Students must contact our office at least 90 days prior to the end date on OPT.

  • Students can continue to work 180 days after OPT end date while STEM application is pending.

  • Students may not travel outside of US or apply for drivers license while STEM application is pending.

  • Students must report any changes in employers information or address information within 10 days of the event.

  • STEM extension reporting to our office must be done every 6 months. Our office must receive information at least 10 days prior to 6th month reporting date.

  • Students must submit to their DSO an annual self-evaluation about the progress of the training experience. Form I-983 must be completed by student and employer.

  • Change in employer requires submission of new Form I-983.

  • Students cannot have an aggregate of 150 days of unemployment.

OPT Reporting Requirements (Standard, STEM and OTHERS)

Report OPT Employment Information
  • Start Date and End date of all your employment. Start date is the date you begin your job. 
  • Your position titles and job descriptions.
  • Any change on your physical and/or mailing address.
  • Name and address of all your OPT employers. 
  • Keep record of all your employment. It may be useful in case any questions arise during OPT or in a future employment-based application, such as H-1B.
How to Report OPT Employment Information: 
  • All changes must be reported within 10 days of the change occurring. 
  • Application can be accessed by logging into International Programs page 

During the 24-month STEM OPT extension period, both the student and the employer are subject to ongoing reporting requirements. Table below depicts the number of reporting that must be completed throughout the STEM period. There will be total of 4 reportings that must be made: at the end of 6 months, at the end of 12 months, at the end of 18 months and at the end of 24 months. Type of reportings are described below under 6 months validation report section and Annual self-evaluation section. 

OPT Reporting Timeline

Student reporting obligations

6 months validation report: (6 Month Report and 18 Month Report)

    • Students must report employment and living address to the Immigration Advisor every six months (even if the information is unchanged).
    • The STEM Extension Reporting Form should be completed and submitted to the DSO at least 10 days before the 6th month and 18th month reporting date.

Any changes to the following, within 10 days of the change:

    • Student's legal name, and mailing and physical addresses.
    • When the student stops working for an employer.
    • When the student starts working for a new qualifying employer.

Annual Self-Evaluation: (12 Month Evaluation and Final Evaluation)

    • Students must submit to their Immigration Advisor an annual self-evaluation about the progress of the training experience.
    • The form I-983 must be completed and signed by the student and the employer.
    • The form must be submitted to Immigration Advisor within 12 months of the listed STEM OPT start date.
    • At the end of the STEM OPT extension, a student must conduct a second, final assessment.

Material Change: 

    • Students must report any changes on the information provided on original form I-983 such as:
    • Any change of the employer’s EIN.
    • Any reduction in student compensation that is not tied to a reduction in hours worked.
    • Any significant decrease in hours per week that a student engages in a STEM training opportunity.
    • Changes to the employer’s commitments or student’s learning objectives as documented on the Form I-983.

Employer Non-Compliance: 

    • Students must report the employer for non-compliance to 24 months STEM regulation and/or non-adherence to I-983 instructions.

Employer reporting obligations

Any changes to the following, within 5 days of the change:

    • When the student gets terminated.
    • When the student leaves employment.

Material Change: 

    • Any material changes to or deviations from the training plan must be reported on a new Form I-983.
    • The student and employer are jointly responsible for submitting the modified Form I-983 to the student's Immigration "at the earliest available opportunity."

How to Report OPT Employment Information: 

  • All changes must be reported within 10 days of the change occurring. 
  • Application can be accessed by logging into International Programs page

Calculate and mark due date of your reportings by using excel below:

  • 24 Month STEM OPT Calculator (Excel Document)
  • Remember reporting to our office must be done at least 10 days prior to the due date that you get using the calculator above. For example: if your 6 months due date reporting comes out to be 06/01/2020, please report your information to our office by no later than 05/20/2020. 

24 Month STEM OPT Calculator (Excel Document)

Employment Ended
  • Last date of employment.
  • Page 5 of form I-983 STEM OPT Training Plan (Final Evaluation)- For STEM OPT only.
Leaving the United States
  • Date of departure. 
  • Page 5 of form I-983 STEM OPT Training Plan (Final Evaluation)- For STEM OPT only.
Change in your immigration status
  • Copy of new status (e.g. I-94 arrival record with new status; I-797 change of status approved; green card).
  • Page 5 of form I-983 STEM OPT Training Plan (Final Evaluation)- For STEM OPT only.
How to Report OPT Employment Information 
  • All changes must be reported within 10 days of the change occurring. 
  • Email intlprog@jsu.eduto report above changes.
    • Provide your JSU ID number and SEVID ID number.
    • Explain the changes and attach any evidences. 

Severe Economic Hardship

Remember that eligibility only refers to the ability to apply and does not mean qualification for approval.

  • Must have been enrolled full time for at least one academic year.
  • Must have maintained F-1 status.
  • Must be in good academic standing.
  • Provide evidence of economic hardship based on unforeseen circumstances beyond the student’s control. Acceptable unforeseen circumstances may include:
    • Loss of financial aid/scholarship
    • Loss of 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/sponsor
    • Medical bills
    • Other substantial and unexpected expenses
  • Show that on-campus employment is not available or sufficient.

  • Students are fully responsible for the Severe Economic Hardship application. The Office of International and Programs is not responsible for the application. Students are responsible to read complete information as it pertains to the application for Severe Economic Hardship on USCIS’s website
  • Employment must not begin until the Employment Authorization Document (EAD) is issued by USCIS.
  • Student must have a Social Security Number (SSN) before starting a job.  In order to apply for SSN students must have received Employment Authorization Card (EAD) card. For process on applying for SSN, go to the link.
  • Students may only work for the total of 20 hours per week during the school year (up to 40 hours per week during official breaks and summer).
  • Graduation, transfer to another institution, or violation of F-1 status, will result in automatic termination of employment authorization.
  • Authorization is only granted for a year at a time. You may apply for an extension if your severe economic condition continues, and you still meet the eligibility requirements. An application for an extension will follow the same procedures as the original application, including the application fee. A photocopy of the previous EAD should be included with a letter clarifying how the economic situation has not changed.
  • Issuance of a new Form I -20 recommending severe economic hardship employment authorization is not an approval and does not guarantee employment authorization will be approved by USCIS.

Money order or personal check payable to “U.S. Department of Homeland Security." A personal check is recommended for tracking purposes. Learn more on the U.S. Department of Homeland Security website.

  1. Students who face financial difficulty can file a request to waive the application fee by filing form I-912 as the cost of the application fee can be considered extensive.
  2. Fill out Form I-912 
  3. Form G-1145 (make sure that it is completed, signed and dated).
  4. Form I-765 (make sure that it is completed, signed and dated).
  5. Copy of personal statement along with all other supporting documents
  6. Copy of your I-20 with severe economic hardship recommendation. Make sure to sign and date it.
  7. Copies of all previous I20s.
  8. Copy of your I-94 form.
  9. Copy of the biographical page of your passport showing expiration date.
  10. Copy of your F-1 visa page or I-797 form if applicable.
  11. Copy of any other previously issued EAD card for employment authorization for economic hardship.
  12. Provide 2 passport sized photos. The instructions to Form I-765 state that the photos must have been taken no more than 30 days before filing the form.
    • You must print your name in pencil on the back of the photos
    • Seal the photos in an envelope and put your full name on the front of the envelope
    • You can place the photos in the envelope on top of the application.
  13. If filing for an extension for economic hardship, provide a copy of the I-20(s) used to support the previous applications as well as copies of the EAD card.

You will need recommendation from the Office of International House and Programs before you could apply for Severe Economic Hardship (SEH) with USCIS. In order to request the recommendation for (SEH) on your I-20 from our office, please follow the steps below:

Step 1- Read information on Eligibility Criteria and make sure you meet all of them. 

Step 2- Print the checklist and start collecting and completing requirements listed on the checklist. 

Step 3- Go to the link 

Step 4- Go to Current Students- Work Authorization.

Step 5- Read the information and Click on Submit Request. 

Step 6- Complete the form (leaving any section on the form blank may result in delay and/or denial of the request). 

Step 7- Email will be sent to you once we review your file. Allow at least 2-3 weeks to review your request. 

*Submission of form with all required documents do not guarantee approval/recommendation from the Office of International House and Programs. 

*Similarly, recommendation on I-20 does not guarantee USCIS approval. 

Step 8- Follow the checklist to prepare application package to be mailed to USCIS

Mailing Address:

https://www.uscis.gov/i-765-addresses

You need to select Foreign students and scroll down to category (C)(3)(iii) F-1 seeking off-campus employment due to severe economic hardship