Asked in International Law and Immigration Law for California

Q: I am an international student with F1 visa, but I got a call from acting Agency for representation. What should I do?

I really want to work, but I am scared that is going to be illegal because I have no working visa.

1 Lawyer Answer
Carl Shusterman
Carl Shusterman
  • Immigration Law Lawyer
  • Los Angeles, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: Jobs outside of your school are only available to international students who have completed one full academic year and who have a qualifying economic hardship or an emergent circumstance.

According to the DHS, a qualifying economic hardship entails "new, unexpected circumstances beyond [your] control," such as:

Loss of financial aid or on-campus employment (if the student is not at fault)

Large increases in tuition or living costs

Substantial decrease in the relative value of currency the student depends upon to pay expenses

Unexpected changes in the financial conditions for a student's sources of financial support

Unexpectedly large medical bills not covered by insurance

Other substantial, unexpected expenses

Emergent circumstances are defined as “world events that affect a specific group of F-1 students and which causes them to suffer severe economic hardship, including, but not limited to natural disasters, wars and military conflicts, national or international financial crises.”

Certain regulatory requirements may be suspended for students that are from parts of the world that are experiencing emergent circumstances. This is known as Special Student Relief.

To apply for off-campus employment, contact your Designated School Official (DSO). He or she must approve the reason and recommend off-campus employment as the first part of the application campus employment work on student visa in the u.s.

Note that you cannot begin working while your application is still being processed by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Apply early so you'll be ready to go when you receive an offer of employment. If approved, you may work 20 hours per week.

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