When to Apply: 

You must apply to the USCIS for reinstatement to F-1 student status if:

  1. you did not carry a full program of study without previous approval from an international student advisor;
  2. you did not attend school during fall or spring semester, unless you were excused for medical reasons;
  3. you failed to attend the school you were authorized by USCIS to attend;
  4. you did not notify USCIS of a transfer or change of educational levels in a timely manner;
  5. you remained in the United States beyond the time authorized under duration of status and did not apply for extension of stay; or
  6. you violated the immigration regulations in any other manner.

Eligibility for Reinstatement: 

You are eligible for consideration for reinstatement to F-1 status only under the following circumstances:

  1. You have not been out of status for more than five months at the time of filing for reinstatement.
  2. You do not have a record of repeated or willful violations of the F1 regulations.
  3. You are currently pursuing, or intend to pursue, a full course of study in the immediate future at the school that issued the Form I-20.
  4. You have not engaged in unauthorized employment.
  5. You are not deportable.
  6. You establish that the violation of status was a result of circumstances beyond your control, or that the violation relates to a reduction in course load that would have been approved by your international student advisor.

Steps:

  • Discuss your situation with an international student advisor and get his/her advice about applying for reinstatement.
  • Write a letter to USCIS asking for reinstatement, explaining the circumstances of your case, keeping in mind the eligibility requirements stated above.
  • If you are eligible to apply for reinstatement, provide a copy of the letter and updated financial support documentation to ISSS in order for a new I-20 to be issued for the reinstatement application
  • Complete an I-539 Form (Application to Extend Time of Temporary Stay), pay the application fee (see "Filing Fee"), and mail the application to USCIS.

USCIS Process:

  • If reinstatement is authorized, USCIS will send you the adjudicated I-20.
  • If reinstatement is denied, USCIS will give you a voluntary departure date.

Important:

You cannot apply for reinstatement if you have worked without authorization.