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Reinstatement

A student who has failed to maintain F-1 status has two options for attempting to restore valid F-1 status:

  1. Travel outside the U.S. and re-entry using a new I-20 issued for Initial Attendance with a new SEVIS Number.  This requires that the student pay the SEVIS fee again under the new SEVIS Number.   

While F-1 status may be restored by travel, there is no guarantee that a new visa (if necessary) or that re-entry to the U.S. would be granted.  The re-entry under the new SEVIS number also restarts the clock of F-1 status.  Time in F-1 status before the re-entry does not count toward the one academic year requirement for CPT or OPT eligibility. 

A student who has failed to maintain F-1 status has two options for attempting to restore valid F-1 status:

  1. Travel outside the U.S. and re-entry using a new I-20 issued for Initial Attendance with a new SEVIS Number.  This requires that the student pay the SEVIS fee again under the new SEVIS Number.   

While F-1 status may be restored by travel, there is no guarantee that a new visa (if necessary) or that re-entry to the U.S. would be granted.  The re-entry under the new SEVIS number also restarts the clock of F-1 status.  Time in F-1 status before the re-entry does not count toward the one academic year requirement for CPT or OPT eligibility. 

  1. An Application for Reinstatement to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) within the U.S.

To be eligible for Reinstatement, the student must:

  1. Not have been out of status for more than 5 months at the time of filing the Application for  Reinstatement OR demonstrate that the failure to file within the 5 month period was the result of exceptional circumstances and that the request was filed as promptly as possible under these exceptional circumstances;
  2. Not have a record of repeated or willful violations of Service regulations;
  3. Be currently pursuing, or intending to pursue, a full course of study in the immediate future at the school which issued the form I-20;
  4. Not have engaged in unauthorized employment; and
  5. Not be deportable on any ground other than section 237(a)(1)(B) or (C)(i) of the Immigration and Nationality Act; AND
  6. Establish, either that
  • The violation of status resulted from circumstances beyond the student's control. Such circumstances might include serious injury or illness, closure of the institution, a natural disaster; or
  • The violation of status was related to a reduction in the student's course load that would have been within a Designated School Official’s (DSO) authority to authorize (difficulty with English language, unfamiliarity with American teaching methods, improper course level placement) and that failure to approve reinstatement would result in extreme hardship to the student.

You should make an appointment with a Slutzker Center advisor to discuss the reinstatement process.

To apply for Reinstatement to F-1 status, you will need the following documents: 

  1. Form I-539 Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status - indicate in Part 2 that the application is for 3. “Reinstatement to student status”
  1. Application fee of $370.00; You may pay by check or money order payable to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Write “I-539:  F-1 Reinstatement” and your name on the front of the check OR by credit card by filing Form G-1450
  2.  A cover letter from you addressed to the USCIS requesting Reinstatement to F-1 student status and explaining your circumstances. Include:
  • why you are out of status (specify the violation)
  • the reason for the status violation
  • the effect on you of failure to receive reinstatement (for example, you will not be able to complete your degree program)
  • a statement that you are currently pursuing or are intending to pursue a full course of study
  • a statement that you have not worked without prior authorization (if that is the case)
  • specifically request that USCIS reinstate you to F-1 student status
  • If you have been out of status for more than five months, explain your delay in applying for reinstatement and how you are filing your request as promptly as possible under the circumstances.
  1. A copy of the Form I-20 issued by the Slutzker Center for Reinstatement. (To obtain this, please submit a I-20 Request Form including proof of funding (step 4)
  2. A copy of your SEVIS Fee Receipt; if you have been out of status for more than 5 months, you must pay the SEVIS fee again (pay online).
  3. Proof of financial support (bank statement, assistantship letter, etc.) for at least the amount shown on your I-20 (the estimated cost of attendance and living expenses for one year-see financial worksheet)
  4. Copies of the following pages of your passport: 
    ID page(s) (includes your photo and expiration date)
    - your most recent U.S. visa page in your passport
  5. Copies of your previous I-20s
  6. A printout of your electronic I-94 
  7. If your application includes any dependents (spouse or children), for each dependent, copies of the F-2 I-20s, J-2 DS-2019s, Passport ID pages, visas, I-94 printouts and documentation of your relationship (marriage certificate, children’s birth certificates).
  8. Slutzker Center letter of support - once the Slutzker Center advisor has reviewed your letter, she/he will write a letter of support, which you should include with your reinstatement application. 

We recommend that you make a copy of your entire application and supporting documents for your files before sending them to USCIS.  Send the application to the appropriate USCIS filing address as indicated in the instructions for form I-539.  We recommend that you send the application by trackable mail (USPS Express or Priority Mail, UPS, Fed Ex or DHL).  If you move after filing for reinstatement, you will need to change your address on line.  USCIS mail will NOT be forwarded to your new address.

You will receive a receipt notice with a case number assigned. This case number can be used to check the status of the application on the USCIS web site .

When you receive a response from the USCIS, please report the outcome to the Slutzker Center for International Services (SCIS) immediately. Send or bring a photocopy of your I-20 and I-797 "Approval Notice" to the Slutzker Center.

If your application is denied, there is no appeal. You should depart the U.S. immediately. The F-1 visa in your possession will be invalidated even though it remains valid on its face. You must apply for a new F-1 visa in order to return to the US in the future as an F-1 student.

Reinstatement to J-1 Status

A student who has failed to maintain J-1 status may be eligible for reinstatement depending on the facts of the situation.

You should make an appointment with a Slutzker Center advisor to discuss the reinstatement process.

  1.  Correction of the Record

Your status may be corrected by a Slutzker Center advisor without a formal application to the U.S. Department of State if your failure to maintain status is a minor or technical infraction such as:

  • Failure to extend form DS 2019 prior to its expiration date
  • Failure to complete a transfer of programs prior to the ending date on the current DS 2019 form
  • Failure to receive prior approval and/or an amended DS 2019 before engaging in a normally approvable and appropriate activity

As long as:

  1. No more than 120 days have passed since the event that caused the status violation
  2. You are pursuing or intend to pursue the original program objective-is pursing a full course of study
  3. You have not willfully failed to maintain health insurance for the duration of your J program
  4. Have not substantively violated the regulations
  1. Reinstatement

If you have failed to maintain J-1 status for more than 120 days but less than 270 days, you may file a formal application to the Department of State (DOS) if:

  • Your violation was due to circumstances beyond your control and if reinstatement were not granted it will cause you unusual hardship
  • You have not knowingly or willfully failed to obtain or maintain required health insurance at all time while in the U.S.
  • You were not engaged in unauthorized employment
  • Been suspended or terminated from the most recent exchange visitor program
  • Received a favorable recommendation from the DOS on an application for waiver of section 212(e) of the Immigration and Nationality Act

To apply for Reinstatement to J-1 status, you will need the following documents: 

  • Receipt for payment of $233 Reinstatement Fee:  paid online via Pay.Gov  to the U.S. Department of State
  • cover letter from you addressed to the U.S. Department of State requesting Reinstatement to J-1 student status and explaining your circumstances. Include:
  1. why you are out of status (specify the violation)
  2. the reason for the status violation-due to circumstances beyond your control
  3. the effect/undue hardship on you of failure to receive reinstatement (for example, you will not be able to complete your degree program)
  4. a statement that you are currently pursuing or are intending to pursue a full course of study
  5. a statement that you have not worked without prior authorization (if that is the case)
  6. specifically request that DOS reinstate you to F-1 student status
  7. Copies of all prior IAP-66s and DS-2019s
  8. Evidence that the I-901 SEVIS fee is paid
  9. Written statement from International Student Adviser regarding violation