Severe Economic Hardship


Severe economic hardship employment allows students who have unexpectedly lost their funding for their Baylor education through circumstances beyond their control to work off-campus for a maximum of 20 hours per week (maximum 40 hours per week during school breaks including summer.) USCIS grants Economic Hardship employment in increments of one year at a time.


In order to be eligible for Severe Economic Hardship employment, you must…

  • Have been in F-1 status for a minimum of 1 academic year
  • Be in good academic standing and be enrolled full-time
  • Be able to show that employment will not interfere with maintaining full-time enrollment
  • Be able to prove that the economic hardship was caused by unforeseen circumstances beyond your control
    • Examples of Unforeseen Circumstances:
      • Loss of financial aid or 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
      • Medical bills
      • Other substantial and unexpected expenses


Documents To Mail to USCIS

  • Copy of Current I-20 with a recommendation for Economic Hardship Employment
  • Copies of All Previous I-20s
  • Most Recent I-94
  • Copy of Your Passport valid for 6 months into the future
  • Copy of Your F-1 Visa
  • Form I-765
  • Form I-912 - Optional
    • If you are unable to afford the $410 fee you may request that USCIS waive the fee for your application
  • Form G-1145
  • 2 Color Passport-Style Photos taken within 30 days
  • Check or Money Order for $410 made payable to the Department of Homeland Security
    • Only submit this if you are NOT submitting Form I-912 as part of your application
  • Letter from You explaining your financial need and how the economic hardship you are experiencing is due to circumstances that were beyond your ability to control or predict
  • Letter from Your Financial Sponsor explaining the circumstances that were beyond his or her ability to control or predict that justify why he or she can no longer fully support you financially
  • Supporting Documentation (ex: newspaper articles about the financial problems in your home country, proof of changes in the currency exchange rate, articles about natural disasters, medical bills, evidence of illness or death of sponsor, etc.)

Application processing times vary from 3 to 5 months. You may not begin working until you have received the Employment Authorization Document (EAD) and the dates are valid.



  1. The student contacts their DSO to discuss their eligibility for Severe Economic Hardship employment.
  2. If the student is determined to be eligible, they then complete the Severe Economic Hardship application in Global Bears.
  3. After determining eligibility, the DSO updates SEVIS with a recommendation for Severe Economic Hardship employment.
  4. The DSO prepares a new Form I-20.
  5. The student mails their documents to USCIS within 30 days of the Baylor DSO recommendation. The list of documents can be seen above.
  6. USCIS reviews and approves or denies the Economic Hardship employment request.
  7. If approved, USCIS will send the I-797 receipt within 2 weeks and an EAD (Employment Authorization Document) within 3 to 5 months to the address that the student provides on the Form I-765.
  8. Upon receipt of the EAD, the student will verify that the information on the card is correct, and then upload a copy of both sides of the card in Global Bears.


All requests are found in the Global Bears system. Please login with your Bear ID and Password (For those on OPT, use personal login) and go to the Student Requests tab to submit your request. The link for Global Bears is Please email if you have difficulty logging in to the system.

Center for Global Engagement

Hankamer Academic Center, H 160.01
1428 S. 5th St.
Waco, TX 76798

One Bear Place #97012
Waco, TX 76798-7012

(254) 710-1461