In the event that an F-1 student experiences extreme financial challenges because of an unexpected situation out of their control, the university provides options to help the student. Examples of these hardships can include unexpected medical bills, sudden changes in currency exchange rates, and natural disasters or military conflict back home.
If a student does face a “severe economic hardship” due to an unforeseen or emergent circumstance, they may be eligible to apply for specific work authorization to help their financial situation.
There are two different scenarios in which a student may be eligible to apply for work authorization related to recent hardship:
Severe economic hardship
A student experiences severe economic hardship due to unforeseen changes in their financial circumstances. Unforeseen changes in financial circumstances may include substantial fluctuations in the value of currency or exchange rate, loss of financial support, excessive medical bills, etc.
If eligible for this benefit, a student may apply to receive work authorization from USCIS to work off-campus.
Special student relief
A student experiences hardship related to emergent circumstances in their home country. Emergent circumstances may include natural disasters, wars, financial crises, etc. In such circumstances, the U.S. government authorizes special student relief for students from particular countries.
If eligible for this benefit, a student may apply to receive work authorization from USCIS to work off-campus or to work additional hours on-campus.