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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.”
  • 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.

Once you receive your new Reinstatement I-20, mail your reinstatement application with all required documents to the appropriate USCIS Service Center.

Find the direct filing address on the USCIS Form I-539 website:  

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.

See USCIS Form I-539 processing times:

  •  Students must maintain full-time enrollment while the reinstatement application is pending.
  •  Pending reinstatement students are not eligible for any F-1 student benefits unless       reinstatement is approved.
  •  Travel outside of the US is not recommended while the reinstatement application is pending     and may be considered an abandonment of the application.
  •  If approved, you are once again eligible for F-1 student benefits. Contact your International   Student Advisor. He/she will advise you and update your file. 
  •  If denied, you must depart the US otherwise you will begin to accrue unlawfully presence in the  US. A denial cannot be appealed, although a motion to reopen or reconsider may be filed if  warranted. Your Denial Notice will inform you of your options. The effect of a denial is very   serious, and you should schedule an appointment with your International Student Advisor.
  • 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.