What is Reinstatement?

Reinstatement is an option for an F-1 student who fails to maintain status and wishes to regain status without leaving the United States. F-1 students who fail to maintain status are not eligible for benefits such as work permission, program extension, school transfer or adjustment of status.

Depending on the circumstances of the individual's case, reinstatement may or may not be the best option. Traveling outside the United States and re-entering with an Initial Attendance I-20 (from the EMU Office of International Admissions) to regain your status may be a better option. Please consult with an OISS advisor on your options.

Who is eligible?

To be eligible to apply for reinstatement, the student:

  • Cannot have been out of status for more than 5 months at the time of filing reinstatement (unless the student can demonstrate exceptional circumstances that created the delay in filing)
  • Cannot have a record of repeated or willful violations of immigration regulations
  • Is currently pursuing, or intending to pursue a full course of study in the immediate future
  • Has not engaged in unauthorized employment
  • Is not deportable on any other grounds
  • Establishes to the satisfaction of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) by a detailed explanation (via letter and other documentation) showing either that:
    • the violation of status resulted from circumstances beyond the student's control (such as serious injury or illness, a natural disaster, or a mistake made by the international student advisor)
    • OR
    • the violation relates to a reduction in course load that would have been in the international student advisor's power to authorize, and failure to approve reinstatement would result in extreme hardship to the student.

How to Apply?

1. Collect application materials. Use the following as a checklist to ensure you have the proper documentation for your reinstatement application.

  1. Write a letter to USCIS asking for reinstatement. Explain the violation in detail, giving more information about the circumstances that created the termination. Outline how you are eligible according to the criteria above. Indicate that you are pursuing a full course of study. Specifically request USCIS to reinstate you to F-1 student status.
  2. Complete USCIS Form I-539 (download from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services; click on Forms tab; choose I-539; fill out the form, print out, and sign). We also suggest that you save the form via PDF on a flash drive in case you need to make any changes after meeting with an OISS advisor. If you have any dependents, be sure to include them on the I-539 application AND include their original I-94s with the application. Write "Reinstatement" on top of your completed I-539.
  3. Complete USCIS Form G-1145 (download from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services; click on Forms tab; choose G-1145; type responses on form and print out)
  4. A check payable to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security in the amount of the current fee as stated on Form I-539 instructions.
  5. Proof of finances equal to or exceeding the amount listed on the I-20. All financial documents must be written in English and show the amounts converted into U.S. dollars. Financial bank documents must be presented on letterhead, dated and signed by an official. If you are self-funded, you need only submit a bank letter or statement verifying funds. If you are on scholarship, you should provide a letter from the organization providing your scholarship that confirms the funding amounts. If you are funded by a sponsor (for example, a parent or other relative), your sponsor will need to provide their bank documentation, plus a letter of financial support that verifies they will provide funding for your tuition/fees and living expenses.
  6. Proof of enrollment. Print off your class schedule. Obtain an official transcript and a letter from your academic adviser confirming expected completion date and that you are making normal progress toward a degree.
  7. Receipt showing payment of the SEVIS (I-901) fee- if SEVIS record terminated more than 5 months before the date of filing.
  8. All other supporting documents, for example medical records/letters from a doctor to confirm a medical condition. Include documents that support what you claim in your personal letter.
  9. Passport and original I-94 card/printout (for student and any dependents). If you do not have your I-94, please take a print-out at the official I-94 website.

2. Make an appointment with an OISS advisor. 

Allow 60 minutes for the meeting. Bring all the documents named above to the appointment, along with your immigration documents (I-20s, passport, visa, and I-94 card) for both you and all dependents. The OISS will review your documents and issue you a Reinstatement I-20.

3. Mail the application. 

After receiving a new I-20 from the OISS (step 2), mail your application to the following address. Be sure to make a copy of your application prior to mailing.

For U.S. Postal Service deliveries:

P.O. Box 660166
Dallas, TX 75266

For Express mail and commercial courier deliveries:

ATTN: I-539
2501 S. State Highway 121 Business Ste 400
Lewisville, TX 75067


After Filing for Reinstatement 

Whether your application is approved or denied, an official record of your status violation will be in your SEVIS record. Status violations can have future impact on eligibility for immigration benefits such as Adjustment of Status.

If the application is approved, USCIS will email the OISS notifying us of your approval. We will email you to inform you of the approval. F-2 dependent status is automatically reinstated with the reinstatement of the F-1 student.

If the application is denied, USCIS will email the OISS notifying us of your denial. We will email you to inform you of the denial. Denials cannot be appealed, although a motion to reopen or be reconsidered may be filled if warranted. We suggest you contact an immigration lawyer if you would like to request reconsideration.

Reinstatement denial has the following effects as of the date of the denial:

  • The visa you used to enter the United States is automatically canceled
  • You are permanently limited to applying for future non-immigrant visas only in your country of citizenship or permanent residence

Other options besides Reinstatement

Students who are not eligible, or who are poor candidates for reinstatement, do have an alternative method to regain their student status. The student can obtain a new I-20 marked "Initial Attendance" from the Office of International Admissions and use that new I-20 to travel outside and reenter the United States. You are subject to paying a new SEVIS fee and obtaining a new F-1 visa with your new SEVIS number listed.

This is not the same as reinstatement and does not cancel your status violation. By this method, students are making a new entry to the United States. In making a new entry, they are in effect starting their student status clock all over again. This means that one has to maintain status for a period of one full academic year after the new entry before being eligible for practical training or other off-campus work authorization.

Other Information

  • A decision to reinstate an individual to F-1 student status is at the discretion of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
  • Processing times at USCIS vary greatly. Expect to wait four or more months before receiving a response.
  • You are not eligible for any F-1 student benefits, such as practical training employment authorization or working on campus, unless the USCIS reinstates you to F-1 student status.
  • Travel outside the United States while a reinstatement application is pending may be considered an abandonment of the application. If you need to leave the United States while your application is pending, contact an OISS advisor prior to travel.

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