F-1 students may apply to USCIS for off-campus work permission based on economic hardship caused by unforeseen circumstances. Students are expected to seek on-campus employment opportunities before applying with USCIS for this type of work authorization. Applications are reviewed carefully by USCIS on a case-by-case basis and dependent on financial circumstances. Students are also expected to provide documentation of the unforeseen circumstance surrounding the economic hardship with their application. This benefit is only available to F-1 students who have completed a minimum of one (1) academic year and have maintained full-time status at City College of San Francisco.

This work authorization allows for off-campus employment that is not related to a student鈥檚 course of study. However, an application to USCIS is required which may take a minimum of three to four months to process. If approved, this work authorization is generally available in one-year intervals.


Before a DSO can recommend off-campus employment, a student must meet the following:

  • Has been in F-1 status for one full academic year (2 full semesters)
  • Is in good academic standing (GPA 2.0 or above)
  • Is enrolled in a full course of study (12 units minimum)
  • Can show that working will not adversely impact the ability to attend school full-time and maintain academic standing
  • Can show severe economic hardship due to unforeseen circumstances beyond the student鈥檚 control

All decisions are subject to the discretion of USCIS and our office has no influence on the decision. Students are not allowed to work off-campus unless you have been approved by USCIS and have an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) in hand.

Required Documentation

This information is provided for informational purposes. You should not start collecting documents for Severe Economic Hardship applications until after you are sure you are eligible. You can ensure eligibility by meeting with a DSO in Cloud 212 or by emailing international@ccsf.edu for an appointment with a DSO.

  • A personal statement describing the unforeseen hardship situation and, if possible, documentation backing up the claim; for example, news articles, a letter from someone familiar with the situation, proof of currency devaluation, etc.
  • A completed Form I-765 using code (c)(3)(iii). This form should not be completed until after you are sure you are eligible
  • 2 passport-style photos
  • Filing fee (see USCIS website)
  • Copy of passport
  • Copy of new I-20 from your DSO recommending employment and all previous I-20s
  • DSO support letter
  • Copy of your Form I-94
  • Copy of F-1 visa or I-797 (approval of change of status to F-1), if applicable
  • Copy of any previous EAD card, if applicable.
  • Evidence that:
    • you have been in valid F-1 status for one full academic year, are a student in good standing, and are enrolled in a full course of study
    • the employment is necessary to avoid severe economic hardship
    • on-campus employment is not available or is not sufficient to meet your financial needs during the unforeseen circumstances

How to Start the Process

To start the entire process, you must contact a DSO in the Office of International Programs (OIP) in C212 or email international@ccsf.edu to request an appointment with a DSO. Detailed information on how to apply is available in our office after meeting with a DSO to ensure you qualify.