A student who has failed to maintain status may be reinstated to lawful F-1 status at the discretion of United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), but only under limited conditions.
Conditions for Possible Approval of Reinstatement
The USCIS District Director may consider reinstating a student to F-1 status if the student can prove the following:
- The student has not been out of status for more than 5 months prior to filing for reinstatement (unless he or she can show that there were exceptional circumstances that prevented the student from filing during the 5-month period).
- The student does not have a record of repeated violations.
- The student is pursuing, or will in the next available term be pursuing a full course of study.
- The student has not engaged in unauthorized employment.
- The student is not deportable on any grounds other than the status violation for which reinstatement is being requested.
- The status violation resulted from either:
- circumstances beyond the student's control; or
- failure to apply in timely fashion for a reduced course load authorization from the DSO only if the violation relates to something that would have been within the DSO's authority to have approved, if it had been requested in a timely manner and for which that the student would experience extreme hardship if the application were not approved.
To apply for reinstatement, you must qualify for a SEVIS I-20 issued specifically for this reason. You should speak with the ISO to determine whether or not you are eligible for reinstatement. If so, the ISO will issue a new SEVIS I-20 for reinstatement to allow you to submit an application to the INS.
Below is the list of documents that must be submitted by the student to the ISO to be recommended for reinstatement
- Original I-20 for Reinstatement
- Photocopies of all previously issued I-20s
- Original I-94 card
- Financial Documentation
- I-539 completed (click on "print")
- Letter from the student explaining the reason that he/she is out of status
- Photocopies of passport pages including visa page, expiration date, and passport number.
- Proof of registration for the current semester
- Check or Money. Order for $370 payable to Immigration and Naturalization Service
Deportable violations cannot be resolved through reinstatement. They require you to leave the United States. One violation is working in the United States without appropriate, and prior, authorization from the International Student Office (ISO) or the INS.
On March 8, 2019, we published the revised Form I-539, Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status. We will reject any Form I-539 with an edition date of 12/23/16 or earlier that is received by USCIS after close of business on March 21, 2019. Starting on March 22, 2019, we will only accept the revised Form I-539 with an edition date of 02/04/19. We also published a new Form I-539A, Supplemental Information for Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status, on March 8 (replacing Supplement A of Form I-539). Read more here: UPDATE: USCIS to Publish Revised Form I-539 and New Form I-539A
on March 8.
If the reinstatement is approved, the SEVIS I-20 will be endorsed indicating that you have been reinstated F-1 status. The I-20 will then be returned to you. A copy of the new I-20 must be submitted to the ISO for your files. If your application is denied, you will be notified and required to leave the United States.
Alternatives to reinstatement
travel and re-entry
An alternative to reinstatement requires that the student departs the United States and re-enters on a new SEVIS I-20 marked for “initial attendance.” However, for Optional Practical Training (OPT) purposes if this option is chosen, you may forfeit any time accrued toward practical training eligibility. Speak to the ISSC for more information.