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F-1 Visa - Frequently Asked Questions


What are 'unforeseen circumstances' for the purpose of off-campus employment?

Unforeseen circumstances exist:

  • If the university reduces or eliminates your financial aid through no fault of yours; that is, if budgets change, or a professor leaves and takes the research grant that paid you. This category could include the elimination of your on-campus job. It does not include the lose of your on-campus employment through poor performance
  • If the university drastically raises its costs or if living expenses suddenly increase. The regulations do not define the size of the increase, but the bigger the increase, the better your claim
  • In case there are unexpected and necessary expenses. The regulations discuss 'other substantial or unexpected expenses' without defining them. These would need to be necessary expenses, such as medical bills or some type of emergency
  • When there is an unexpected change in your financial source, which could be family, home government, or sponsor. Your father could lose his job, your government could devalue its currency, or a sponsor could decline further support

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How long does it take to obtain an Employment Authorization Document for off-campus employment?

You may have to wait for about three months before you receive a response from the USCIS. If your request is approved, you will receive an EAD card valid for up to one year. You may then begin working off-campus. You may not legally work off-campus before receiving your EAD. This authorization can be renewed by USCIS by going through the same process.

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