Applying for Reinstatement

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If an F student falls out of status with USCIS by not reporting any of the information outlined in the Maintaining Your Status section of this web site, they have the option to apply for reinstatement.  A J-1 student will need to meet with an advisor in the Buckman Center to discuss their options.

Checklist of Procedures to Apply for F-1 Reinstatement

  • Complete and sign Form I-539
  • Write a letter addressed to USCIS requesting reinstatement, explaining the reasons for falling out of status and stating that you have not engaged in unauthorized employment
  • Provide information that documents that you have been in status for most of your studies (i.e., academic transcript)
  • Provide proof of financial support
  • Provide photocopies of the passport, including the photo page, the page with the passport’s expiration date, and the visa page
  • Provide the original I-94 and a photocopy of the original I-20 (all I-20′s issued by each school attended in the US)
  • Obtain a new Form I-20 from the Buckman Center
  • Include a check or money order for $200 made payable to "USCIS"

If the reinstatement is approved, USCIS will endorse the new I-20 form to indicate that the student has been reinstated and return the I-20 to the student. If the reinstatement is not approved, the student will be given a “notice to appear” in immigration court to receive their deportation orders or can voluntarily depart the U.S.

Returning to F-1 status by Re-Entering the United States

A student may depart the United States and return using a new I-20 with "Initial Attendance" marked in Section 3(a).  USCIS’ interpretation of this notation is that a student who re-enters as an Initial Entry must complete one (1) academic year of full-time study prior to obtaining Optional Practical Training (OPT) or off-campus employment.

Please Note:

An F-1 student who has failed to maintain status may NOT be reinstated to student status by leaving the United States and re-entering with a new I-20 that is marked "Reinstatement."

Students may NOT regain status by taking part in the "automatic revalidation process" when returning to the United States after a visit of no more than thirty days to Canada, Mexico, or adjacent islands.  The entry visa of a student who has fallen out of status is no longer valid.