UMD: A Globally Connected University

Economic Hardship

Economic Hardship


To be eligible for employment based on severe economic hardship, you must have:

  • Valid F-1 status for at least one academic year (2 semesters)
  • A valid passport and I-20
  • Been enrolled at the University of Maryland for at least one academic year
  • Been in good academic standing, carrying a full course of study

Conditions of Employment

The employment:

  • Cannot interfere with your pursuit of a full-time course of study
  • Is limited to 20 hours per week while school is in session
  • May be full-time during annual school vacations
  • Is authorized in one-year increments
  • Becomes invalid if you transfer, graduate, or fail to maintain status


To apply for off-campus employment authorization based on economic necessity you must:

  • Gather all application documents (see The Application Packet section)
  • Make an appointment to speak with an ISSS advisor by calling 301-314-7740
  • Bring all application documents with you to your appointment. At this visit, the advisor will check your eligibility, review the paperwork, create a new I-20, sign documents, and put the application package together
  • Make photocopies of each item in the application packet for your records and mail the entire packet to:

For U.S. Postal Service (USPS) Deliveries:
PO Box 660867
Dallas, TX 75266

For Express mail and courier deliveries:
Attn: AOS
2501 S. State Hwy. 121 Business
Suite 400
Lewisville, TX 75067

  • Expect an official USCIS receipt notice within a month of mailing. After receiving this receipt you may check on the status of your application on the Case Status Online section of the USCIS website
  • Employment authorization comes in the form of a card, the Employment Authorization Document (EAD), which will show the dates of your authorized employment

Application Packet

The EAD application packet consists of the following:

  •  A personal check or money order made out to “U.S. Department of Homeland Security” for $410.
  • Two color passport photos (2"x2", write name and SEVIS number on back of both photos; must be taken within 30 days)
  • The original Form I-765 filled out in blue ink. Question #27 = (c)(3)(iii)
  • Photocopy of your current I-20 & all previously issued I-20s (SEVIS I-20s, pages 1&3, non-SEVIS I-20s, pages 3&4)
  • Photocopy of your passport number/photo/expiration date page(s)
  • Photocopy of the I-94, front AND back (make sure stamp shows up in copy)
  • Photocopy of F-1 visa stamp
  • A letter that summarizes your economic hardship and documents the unsuccessful effort to seek on-campus employment. If your situation is due to general economic difficulties in your home country, you will have to detail how the crisis has directly affected you and your family
  • Supporting materials that attest to the unforeseen nature of the economic hardship (a list of assets, income, and expenses; newspaper articles describing a recent disaster or currency devaluation in your home country; medical bills; a letter from your sponsor; affidavits, etc.)

*Note: Photos that do not meet the specifications will be rejected and will result in delays. ISSS recommends Campus Photographic Services located on 5201 Paint Branch Parkway, Suite 1117 (in the Patapsco building near the College Park metro station). Their phone number is (301) 405-0577. Hint: Do not wear white.

When May You Begin Working?

You may begin working:

  • After you have received the EAD, OR
  • On the beginning date as noted on the EAD, whichever is the later

Benefits and Responsibilities

You will probably need to pay federal and state taxes. Please visit the IRS website (Publication 519) for more information.