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Economic Hardship (F-1 / J-1)

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Under rare circumstances, limited employment authorization may be given to F-1 and J-1 students who can demonstrate that they are under severe financial hardship due to unforeseen circumstances beyond their control that arose after their arrival in the United States. (First-year F-1 students are not eligible for an economic hardship authorization.)

Such employment does not negatively impact your Optional Practical Training (OPT) opportunities. 

When allowed an employment variance due to financial hardship, your area of employment is not limited to your major field of study. It is limited to 20 hours a week while school is in session and full-time during official breaks. 


You should first meet with a Bechtel advisor who will make the recommendation for the employment authorization to the USCIS. You apply to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) for authorization. USCIS can take up to 90 days to process your request.

Authorization for J-1 students is processed by Bechtel International Center and can take five to 10 business days to process.
For more information, contact an International Student Advisor.