Portland Community College | Portland, Oregon


In order to qualify for Economic Hardship work permission employment, you must meet the following criteria:

  • You must have been a full-time student at PCC for at least one full academic year.
  • You must be able to document the circumstances which led to your economic situation were unexpected and beyond your control. Examples include evidence of unexpected currency fluctuations, or unexpected loss of financial assistantship from your sponsor.
  • You must be capable of continuing full-time studies and maintaining F-1 status while engaged in Economic Hardship work permission.

You do not need a job offer to apply for Economic Hardship work permission.


Applying for Economic Hardship work permission is a two-step process:

  1. Meet with an International Student Advisor to confirm that you are eligible for an Economic Hardship based work permit. Please read the Economic Hardship Information and complete the Economic Hardship Request Form prior, and bring the request form to your appointment. Upon confirmation of eligibility, the International Student Advisor will provide you with a checklist of items to prepare for the authorization of Economic Hardship.

    Your International Student Advisor will review your application materials. This is not a routine application and is reviewed on a case-by-case basis. Note that the USCIS scrutinizes Economic Hardship applications extremely carefully; as a result, the more evidence you can provide to establish the unforeseen and unexpected nature of your economic situation, the better.

  2. Apply to the USCIS. Please note that approval for Economic Hardship is granted only by US Citizenship and Immigration Services, and PCC cannot guarantee approval of your application.

Processing Times

USCIS can easily take up to 90 days or more to process this type of application. Approval is not guaranteed, and you may not begin employment unless you have received written approval from USCIS.


If approved, you will receive an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) card from the USCIS granting you permission to work off-campus. Typically, permission is granted for up to one year. Note also the following:

  • You may work a maximum of 20 hours per week during the school year, full-time (over 20 hours per week) during vacation periods.
  • Economic Hardship work permission is not limited to employment in your field of study - you may accept any type of lawful employment once you have received your EAD.
  • You may not start employment until you have received an EAD or before the start date indicated on the EAD. You must stop employment by the EAD expiration date or by the date you finish your studies, whichever is earlier. You may, however, apply for a renewal of Economic Hardship work permission if you are still a full-time student and if the conditions underlying the original application remain in place.
  • You must remain a full-time student and make full-time progress toward degree completion while on Economic Hardship work permission.
  • If you transfer to another institution, your EAD becomes invalid as of the date the transfer.