Students: J-1 Economic Hardship Work Authorization

The J-1 Economic Hardship Work Authorization is a type of work authorization granted for severe economic need. In order to be eligible for this work authorization, the student must prove that circumstances beyond his/her control have caused a severe economic hardship and these circumstances arose after he/she began study in J-1 status. Such circumstances might include the death or severe financial loss of the student's financial sponsor, devaluation of the currency in which the student's funding for study is held, etc. The student must currently be in good standing as a student and have been in status for at least one academic year.

Employment authorized under Economic Hardship may be used on- or off-campus, but is limited to 20 hours per week during the fall and spring semesters (during official breaks, ex. winter break, spring break, and summer break, students may work full-time). Work does not have to be related to the student's field of study and does not affect eligibility for Academic Training.

The work authorization will be granted directly by the Reves Center and will come in the form of an authorization letter. Except in extreme circumstances, exchange students are not eligible for this type of work authorization.

Apply for a J-1 Economic Hardship Work Authorization
  1. E-mail [[globe]] to schedule an appointment with an immigration advisor at the Reves Center.
  2. Be prepared to discuss your financial situation at the appointment, including the circumstances of how economic hardship arose, what efforts you have made to find other funding sources (including work on campus), and your financial need. Bring evidence (e.g. newspaper article, letters from family, death notice, etc) to support your application. The advisor will make a determination as to whether or not the Reves Center will support your application.
  3. If the Reves Center will support your application, the advisor will issue an authorization letter. The letter will be valid for up to 12 months and must be renewed annually following the same process.
Items Required to Apply for Work Authorization
  • a statement from the student (e.g. essay/letter—address it to “Dear Sir/Madam:”) that describes:
    • your length of time enrolled as a full-time student in J-1 status
    • your current GPA
    • an explanation of unforeseen circumstances leading to the application (e.g. currency devaluation, parents’ loss of income, etc.)
    • your attempts to locate other sources (e.g. on-campus work, on-campus funding, etc.) and why they are not sufficient
  • supporting evidence of the circumstances (e.g. letter from parents, newspaper article citing disaster, etc.)