Reinstatement to F-1 Student Status

Download: Reinstatement to F1 Student Status


The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) recognizes that students may encounter difficulties while pursuing their education objectives in the United States and occasionally break the rules of the F-1 status. In response, DHS established a procedure for reviewing circumstances surrounding your violation of status. This process is called Reinstatement to Student Status.


Eligibility Requirements
* The violation resulted from circumstances beyond your control, or wasn’t entirely your fault, or resulted from a simple misunderstanding, or was “technical” (like missing a deadline, and, therefore, not a serious violation).
AND/OR
* A denial of reinstatement to F-1 student status would result in extreme hardship.

You may show that you meet at least one of these requirements by writing a Request for Consideration for Reinstatement on the enclosed Attachment to Form I-539 and submitting it with your complete application to International Programs and Services (OIPS).

Instructions for Writing the Request for Consideration for Reinstatement Status
This is the most important part of your application! You must write a clear explanation of the circumstances that caused you to violate your F-1 status. Remember that you are seeking to convince the immigration officer that you have a valid or understandable reason for the violation so that he or she will “forgive” your violation and reinstate you to F-1 status. If this is your first violation of F-1 status and/or you have always been a full-time student, state that in your request.

It is best to have evidence to support your request. You should attach a transcript or grade report to show that you were going to school full-time; or proof that you were taking or preparing for professional or entrance examination; a supporting letter of explanation from someone else; or newspaper articles. Mention your supporting evidence in your Request for Consideration and staple it to that form.

Application Procedures
To apply for reinstatement to DHS, complete and submit all of the following documents to the OIPS Director;

1. Form I-539 (attached)
2. Attachment to Form I-539 signed by you
3. Proof of Financial support (less than six months old)
4. Copies (front and back) of all previous I-20’s ever issued to you
5. Original Form I-94 (and those of any dependents)
6. Check or money order for $290 made payable to “Immigration and Customs Enforcement”
7. Proof of payment of the $200 SEVIS fee (can be paid and printed on the www.fmjfee.com website)

Once you complete and submit all of these documents to the International Student Advisor, a new I-20 will be sent with your application. You are responsible for mailing your application by certified mail with returned receipt or by express service. The OIPS Director will give you the address.

Immigration will take approximately 4 to 6 months to process your application. If you receive an approval or a request for evidence please bring the response with all accompanying documents to our office so that we can advise you properly and make photocopies for your file.

Suspension of F-1 Benefits
Your F-1 benefits are suspended until an answer has been received from ICE. During this period you are not eligible for on or off campus employment, including graduate assistantships and practical training.

Travel and Reentry to U.S.
If you wish to travel while your application is pending with ICE, a new I-20 must by issued to you for reentry to the United States. Contact International programs and Services at least 2 weeks before you plan to travel for advice. A new I-20 will be prepared for you.