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Regaining F-1 Status: Reinstatement or Travel & Re-Entry

If you fail to maintain F-1 status, you are no longer eligible for any of the benefits of F-1 status (for example, employment authorization). To regain your status so that you may continue to pursue your degree, there are two options: (1) apply for reinstatement or (2) depart the U.S. and seek a new admission to the U.S. in F-1 status.


Option 1: Reinstatement

When requesting reinstatement, you must prove to United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) that you:

  • Have not been out of status more than 5 months at the time of filing the request for reinstatement (or demonstrate that the failure to file within the 5-month period was the result of exceptional circumstances and that you filed for reinstatement as soon as possible under these circumstances).
  • Do not have a record of repeated or willful violations of immigration regulations.
  • Are currently pursuing, or intending to pursue, a full course of study in the immediate future at the school which issued the Form I-20.
  • Have not engaged in unauthorized employment.
  • Are not deportable on any ground other than overstaying or failing to maintain status.


You must also establish that violation resulted from either:

  • Circumstances beyond your control (i.e. serious injury or illness, a natural disaster, or inadvertence, oversight, or neglect on the part of your International Student Adviser).
  • Or, a reduction in your course load that would have been within an International Student Adviser's authority to authorize, and USCIS’ failure to approve your reinstatement would result in extreme hardship to you.


Reinstatement Application Procedure

Step 1: Meet with your International Student Advisor to discuss how your status was violated and what options you have to regain your F-1 status.

Step 2: If approved to proceed by your International Student Advisor, you'll receive an email with access to request a new I-20 by completing the Request to Regain F-1 Status in accessVIS, uploading the following required documents:

  1. A letter of explanation addressed to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), stating (a) how you violated your F-1 status, and (b) the effects not being reinstated will have on you and your future.
  2. Proof of financial support for the duration of your academic program is required.  
  3. Copies of your current immigration documents including your passport, F-1 visa, and Electronic I-94 Admission Record or I-94 Card.
  4. Undergraduates ONLY: Undergraduate Students are requirement to submit an Academic Progress Review Form completed by their general academic advising department and by a faculty or administrative advisor within their major academic department(s).  If you have a secondary major, the form must be completed by BOTH major academic departments.  

Step 3: Once your Reinstatement to F-1 Status request form has been reviewed, you will receive an email detailing the documents required for Part II: Assembling the I-539 Application.

 

Option 2: Travel and Reentry

In some instances it may be advisable to depart the U.S. and re-enter with a new I-20, rather than applying for reinstatement. You may do this by obtaining a new I-20 from the school you are currently attending or wish to attend, then departing the U.S., applying for a new F-1 visa  and returning to the U.S.

A re-entry to the U.S. after a status violation is viewed by Immigration as "initial attendance" in F-1 status. As such, you are bound by restrictions placed on new students, such as the academic year waiting period for eligibility for practical training.


Travel & Reentry Application Procedure:

Step 1: Meet with your International Student Advisor to discuss how your status was violated and what options you have to regain your F-1 status.

Step 2: If approved to proceed by your International Student Advisor, you'll receive an email with access to request a new I-20 by completing the Request to Regain F-1 Status in accessVIS, uploading the following required documents:

  1. A letter of explanation addressed to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), stating (a) how you violated your F-1 status, and (b) the effects not being reinstated will have on you and your future.
  2. Proof of financial support for the duration of your academic program is required.  
  3. Copies of your current immigration documents including your passport, F-1 visa, and Electronic I-94 Admission Record or I-94 Card.
  4. Undergraduates ONLY: Undergraduate Students are requirement to submit an Academic Progress Review Form completed by their general academic advising department and by a faculty or administrative advisor within their major academic department(s).  If you have a secondary major, the form must be completed by BOTH major academic departments.  

Step 3: Upon receipt of your new I-20 you must:

  1. Pay the mandatory SEVIS I-901 Fee online (click here).  Print a copy of your SEVIS fee payment receipt and have it with you when applying for your F-1 Visa at a U.S. Embassy/Consulate and when entering the U.S.
  2. Schedule a visa interview appointment with a U.S. Embassy/Consulate - www.usembassy.gov.  We recommend visiting the U.S. Embassy/Consulate's website in your country for a list of documents required when applying for an F-1 visa.

Step 4: Submit the Immigration Intake form in accessVIS and report to VIS for intake and check-in.

 

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