Reinstatement to F-1 Status
As a student in F-1 status, you are expected to comply with immigration regulations. If you fail to comply with these regulations, you will be "out of status". When you are out of status, you are no longer eligible for on-campus employment, practical training, recertification of your I-20 for re-entry to the US, or any other benefits of F-1 status.
The following are considered violations of your F-1 status:
Reinstatement allows you the opportunity to regain valid F-1 status and have the mistakes you made corrected by USCIS. You may be eligible for reinstatement only if you:
Note that working in the US without appropriate authorization from the ISSO or the USCIS is a violation of your status that cannot be corrected through reinstatement. If you are in violation of your status due to unauthorized employment, you can only regain your status by departing the United States.
Procedure: The application for reinstatement is made by you directly to USCIS. The ISSO does not have a role in approving your application. Only USCIS can reinstate your status. However, ISSO advisers are available to review your application before you submit it if you wish.
Your reinstatement application must include the following documents:
If you have dependents in the US, you must also include them in the application since a violation of your F-1 status affects your dependent family members as well.
We recommend that you copy
your application materials for your own records before sending it to USCIS.
Send the application by certified mail, return receipt requested to:
If your request for reinstatement is approved, the USCIS officer will stamp your I-20 to indicate that you have been reinstated and return it. Once the reinstatement is approved, you are once again eligible for the benefits of F-1 status. If the application is denied, you will be notified and required to leave the US.
Processing times for reinstatement applications vary; however, it may take as long as 6 months for the application to be adjudicated. Although you may continue to study while the application is pending (In fact, you are required to register full-time during this period.), you will not be eligible for any type of employment until the reinstatement is approved.
Alternative to Reinstatement
You also have the option of traveling to regain status instead of applying for reinstatement. When you travel to regain status, you are issued a new I-20 for "Initial attendance" with a new SEVIS ID number. You then leave the US and re-enter using the new I-20. When you enter the US and receive an I-94 marked "F-1 D/S", you will once again be in valid F-1 status. However, if you choose to travel to regain status, you will forfeit any time you have accrued toward practical training eligibility. You will need to be registered for one academic year in order to qualify for practical training.
Last Reviewed: 8 February 2011 Last modified: 8 February 2011