Reinstatement Instructions

When requesting reinstatement, you must establish to the satisfaction of 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:

  • The violation of status resulted from circumstances beyond your control. Such circumstances might include serious injury or illness, a natural disaster, or inadvertence, oversight, or neglect on the part of your ISS adviser, but do not include instances where a pattern of repeated violations or a willful failure on your part resulted in the need for reinstatement.


  • The violation relates to a reduction in your course load that would have been within the international student adviser's authority to authorize, and that failure to approve reinstatement would result in extreme hardship to you.

If USCIS approves the reinstatement request, the adjudicating officer will endorse your I-20 to indicate that you have been reinstated and will return the I-20 to you. If USCIS does not approve the reinstatement request, you may not appeal the decision and need to prepare to leave the U.S. immediately.

Reinstatement in the U.S. -  Application Procedure 

  1. Call Global Engagement to schedule an appointment with your DSO.  At the appointment your DSO will review your eligibility for F-1 reinstatement and will discuss the application process. 
    1. Complete the Reinstatement/Reentry Request Form included in this document. Submit the form and any supporting documents discussed by your DSO to IPS. Your DSO will create a new I-20 for your reinstatement application. Allow one week for I-20 processing.
    2. Prepare your reinstatement application following the list of documents below. Submit your reinstatement application to USCIS by mail.

    Checklist for Filing Your Reinstatement​

    Check or money order made payable to "U.S. Department of Homeland Security" for $290 (as of current rate in 2016 – please check USCIS I-539 Instruction for update) 

    ·      Form I-539

    ·      Copy of new Reinstatement I-20 signed by DSO

    ·      Photocopy of passport identification and visa pages; do not send your passport

    ·      A letter requesting reinstatement to F-1 student status which explains your situation and truthfully states that failure to maintain status was due to any or all of the reasons listed above

    ·      DSO's verification letter

    ·      Original evidence of source and amount of financial support & Affidavit Form if applicable

    ·      Current transcript and transcripts from other U.S. schools previously attended

    ·      Copies of all previously-issued I-20s

    ·      I-94 printout obtained at or Original I-94 (the white card stapled inside your passport) 

    ·      G-1145 for e-Notification about case status

    Keep a copy of your entire application for your records. It is recommended that you send your application by certified mail, return receipt requested or a Courier service.  Please keep in mind that it can take 3-6 months for USCIS to process your application and sometimes it is even longer.

    1. Create a USCIS Account and you can file online

    Before you make payment, you must schedule an appointment with your DSO to review all the information you entered to ensure accuracy. Once you pay and submit, you can no longer edit.

    Reinstatement by Traveling to Home Country and Reentry 

    In some cases, 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 if the F-1 visa stamp in your passport has expired or the name of the school on the visa is different, and returning to the U.S. 

    Note that students who violated status are not eligible for Automatic Visa RevalidationA 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.

    1.     Fill out Reinstatement Request Form included in this document. Please indicate on the form that you would like to apply for reinstatement by traveling to home country and re-enter the U.S.

    2.     Provide your DSO the following Document:

    ·      Copy of evidence of source and amount of financial support 
    ·      Affidavit Form if applicable
    ·      Copy of your passport bio page – must be valid at least for another 6 months from the date when you re-enter the U.S.

    3.     DSO will review all information and issue you a new Initial I-20 for reinstatement
    4.     After re-enter, you are required to report to you DSO immediately and bring a copy of your I-20 and I-94 Admission print out.  Your DSO will make a copy of your visa if it is a new one.​

    Document Checklist

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