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F-1 Reinstatement Information


A non-immigrant alien who has failed to maintain status may apply for reinstatement for lawful status at the discretion of USCIS (United States Citizenship & Immigration Services), but only under limited conditions specified in Immigration Regulations.

An application for reinstatement may be considered if the following can be proved:

  • You have not been out of status for more than 5 months
  • You do not have a record of repeat violations
  • You are pursuing, or will in the next available term, a full course of study
  • You are not engaged in unauthorized employment
  • You are not deportable on any grounds other than the status violation
  • The status violation was beyond your control, or failure to timely submit a Student Program Extension or Reduced Course Load Authorization

Pending Reinstatement

You are not in legal F-1 status until your application for reinstatement is approved.

School attendance: An applicant for reinstatement to F-1 must maintain full-time academic enrollment while the application is pending.

Employment benefits: No F-1 employment benefits are available until the reinstatement is approved.


As an alternative to applying for reinstatement in the U.S., you may opt to travel and re-enter the U.S. using a new initial I-20.  Please note that this type of travel will restrict your eligibility for practical training.  Please consult your International Student Adviser to discuss this option further.

How To Apply

Please make an appointment with your International Student Adviser and bring the following documents with you to your appointment.  Please check with International Student Adviser to verify all documents needed for your application.

  • $370 check or money order payable to Department of Homeland Security
  • I-539
  • Original I-20 (issued by an ISSS International Student Adviser)
  • Original I-94
  • Copy of Passport identification pages (including expiration date)
  • Copy of Visa
  • Copy of All Previous I-20s issued
  • Proof of SEVIS (I-901) fee payment (
  • Proof of Financial Support
  • Dependent Family Member Documentation (I-20, passport, visa, I-94), if applicable
  • Personal Letter explaining the situation and requesting a reinstatement
  • Letter of reinstatement support from International Student Adviser
  • Copy of Academic Transcripts (can be unofficial copy)
  • OTHER: as advised by your International Student Adviser

Suggestions for Personal Letter

A strong letter should establish convincingly why you are out of status by specifically stating the violation, and the reason you are in violation.  State how failure to receive reinstatement approval will affect you.  State that you are currently pursuing or intending to pursue a full course of study, and specifically request USCIS reinstate you to F-1 student status.