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Reinstatement to F-1 Status

When you are admitted to the United States in F-1 status, you are expected to comply with certain immigration regulations.

What Is Reinstatement?

If you fail to comply with these regulations, you will be considered “out of status” and will need to apply to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) for “reinstatement.”

Only by seeking reinstatement can you regain certain benefits attached to F-1 status, such as the ability to work on-campus, to engage in practical training, or to receive certification for re-entry into the U.S. after travel abroad.

When Is Reinstatement Necessary?

The following are considered violations of F-1 status that may necessitate reinstatement:

  • Failure to attend the school whose SEVIS I-20 you used to enter the United States.
  • Failure to maintain full-time registration as required.
  • Failure to apply for a Program Extension within the 30-day period before the completion date on your SEVIS I-20 , if you need more time to complete your current program.
  • Failure to obtain a new SEVIS I-20 if you change your educational program or degree level and notify the USCIS within 15 days of beginning the new program or level.
  • Failure to obtain a new SEVIS I-20 and notify USCIS within 15 days of registering at York College if you transfer to York from another school or institution.

Who Is Eligible To Be Reinstated?

  • Reinstatement is possible if:
  • Are pursuing a full-time course of study.
  • Can document sufficient financial resources to pursue a full-time course of study.
  • Can establish that the violation of F-1 status resulted from circumstances beyond your control or that failure to be reinstated would result in extreme hardship.
  • Are not deportable from the United States on any grounds.
  • Have not been out of status for more than 5 months at a time of filling the reinstatement.

Note: Certain kinds of violations cannot be remedied through reinstatement; instead they require that you depart the United States.
Among these violations is working in the U.S. without appropriate and prior, authorization from your International Student Advisor or the USCIS.


In order to apply for reinstatement, you must first qualify for an SEVIS I-20 issued specifically for this purpose. You should speak with your International Student Advisor to determine whether or not you are eligible for reinstatement. If so, the International Student Advisor will issue a new SEVIS I-20 for reinstatement to allow you to submit an application to the USCIS. Make sure that any accompanying dependents are included on the SEVIS I-20, since any status violation committed by you also affects any dependent family members.

Note: The reinstatement application is made directly by you to the USCIS. The International Student Advisor does not have a role in endorsing or approving your application; only the USCIS can reinstate you to F-1 status.
However, if you would like the International Student Advisor to examine your application, he/she will be happy to do so.

  • Your reinstatement application should include the following:
  • Your written requests to the USCIS for reinstatement, explaining the circumstances for being “out of status.”
  • Letter from academic Advisement indicating when you will complete your degree requirements.
  • Official copy of your current transcript.
  • A SEVIS I-20 for reinstatement, with financial documentation covering the tuition, fees, and living expenses for your program of study. Sign and date this SEVIS I-20
  • A completed INS form I-539.
  • A bank check or money order made payable to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
  • Photocopy of your passport identification page. Do not send your passport!
  • Photocopies of all previous SEVIS I-20(s).
  • An original I-94 card showing that you were admitted in F-1 status for “duration of status.

You are advised to photocopy all your application material for your own records before sending it to the INS .

Send the application by certified mail, return receipt requested to :

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services

Vermont Service Center
75 Lower Welden Street
St. Albans, VT 05479-0001

If the reinstatement is approved, the USCIS adjudicator will endorse your SEVIS I-20 to indicate that you have been reinstated and return it to you. If your application is denied, you will be notified and required to leave the United States. Please bring your response from the USCIS to the International Student Advisor so that he/she may advise you and update your file.

Special Considerations

Processing times for reinstatement applications may vary; it may take as long as 6-8 months. Although you may continue to study, you are not eligible for any privileges associated with F-1 status (such as on-campus employment or practical training) while your application is pending.

Alternative To Reinstatement:

An alternative to reinstatement requires that you depart the United States and return on a new SEVIS I-20 marked for “initial attendance.” However, if you choose this alternative, you forfeit any time accrued toward practical training eligibility. You must again wait nine (9) months from the date you re-enter on the new SEVIS I-20 in order to re-establish your eligibility for practical training. Speak to your International Student Advisor for more information.

Traveling After Reinstatement Has Been Approved:

Once the student receives the approval from USCIS for the reinstatement, he/she must apply for a new F-1 student Visa when traveling outside of US. Be advised that at this time the US Embassy will request a copy of your receipt of payment of for the $200.00 SEVIS Fee.

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