Severe Economic Hardship
If you, as a student, are in an unforeseen severe economic hardship situation, then you may apply to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for authorization to work off-campus for 20 hours per week while school is in session. You must prove that unforeseen economic circumstances have caused a need for employment that cannot be met through on-campus work opportunities.
If you are also working on-campus, you may only work 20 hours total between the two jobs. If you have authorization, you may work full-time during official school breaks.
Work positions, under this work authorization category, are not required to be related to your field of study.
Regulations regarding off-campus employment based on severe economic hardship may be found under 8 C.F.R. § 214.2(f)(9)(ii)(A), (C), (D), (F).
You must be able to prove that off-campus employment is necessary due to severe economic hardship caused by circumstances beyond your control. The economic hardship must have occurred after you obtained J-1 status. You are not required to have a job offer when applying for this type of work authorization.
You must meet the following requirements to be eligible to apply: