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Coronavirus (COVID-19)

International Student FAQs: Financial Hardship for F1 International Students

I am an international student on an F1 visa. I don’t know if I can pay for the next term because of the coronavirus outbreak. What should I do?

If you think you might not be able to pay for your tuition because of the coronavirus outbreak, you can apply for severe economic hardship through USCIS.  Please keep in mind that USCIS may not make a formal decision about your application before the term start date.

Read more about the special situations that qualify students for severe economic hardship on the USCIS website.

How do I apply for severe economic hardship?

To apply, you must submit Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, along with a copy of your Form I-20, Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status, and any other supporting materials to USCIS.

Your Form I-20 must include the employment page completed by your Designated School Official, Jihoon Doh, certifying your eligibility for off-campus employment due to severe economic hardship caused by unforeseen circumstances beyond your control.

You can contact your DSO at

What happens if my request for severe economic hardship is approved?

When you apply for severe economic hardship, you request to authorization from the government to work off-campus (if you meet certain regulatory requirements).

If your request is approved, you may be able to work off-campus in one-year intervals up to the expected date of completion of your current course of study.

What if I can’t afford the application fee?

If you are unable to pay the fee for a USCIS service or benefit, you may request a fee waiver by filing Form I-912, Request for Fee Waiver.

Who do I talk to for help?

If you need help deciding whether or not to apply for severe economic hardship, contact your DSO at