F-1 Reinstatement Information 

Eligibility & Qualification

F-1 Reinstatement Fact Sheet 

A non-immigrant alien who has failed to maintain status may apply for reinstatement for lawful status at the discretion of USCIS (United States Citizenship & Immigration Services), but only under limited conditions specified in Immigration Regulations.

An application for reinstatement may be considered if the following can be proved:
  • You have not been out of status for more than 5 months
  • You do not have a record of repeat violations
  • You are pursuing, or will in the next available semester, a full course of study
  • You are not engaged in unauthorized employment
  • You are not deportable on any grounds other than the status violation
  • The status violation was beyond your control, or failure to timely submit a 

Pending Reinstatement
  • You are not in legal F-1 status until your application for reinstatement is approved.
  • School Attendance: An applicant for reinstatement for F-1 must maintain full-time academic enrollment while the application is pending.
  • Employment Benefits: No F-1 employment benefits are available until the reinstatement is approved.

As an alternative to applying for reinstatement in the U.S., you may opt to travel and re-enter the U.S. using a new initial I-20. Please note that this type of travel will restrict your eligibility for practical training. Consult ISA to discuss this option further.

How to Apply
Please make an appointment with the ISA and bring the following documents with you to your appointment. Please check with the ISA to verify all documents needed for your application.
  • $290 personal check/money order made payable to DHS
  • I-539 
  • Reinstatement I-20 (issued by the ISA)
  • Copy of I-94 Card (front and back)
  • Copy of Passport identification pages (including expiration date)
  • Copy of Visa page
  • Copy of All Previous I-20s issued
  • Proof of SEVIS (I-901) fee payment (www.fmjfee.com)
  • Proof of Financial Support
  • Dependent Family Member Documentation (I-20, passport, visa, I-94 card), if applicable
  • Personal Letter of explanation and request for reinstatement
  • Letter of reinstatement support from ISA
  • Copy of Academic Transcripts (can be unofficial copy)

Suggested Verbiage for Letter of Explanation
A strong letter should establish convincingly why you are out of status by specifically stating the violation, and the reason you are in violation. State how failure to receive reinstatement approval will affect you. State that you are currently pursuing or intending to pursue a full course of study, and specifically request USCIS reinstate you to F-1 student status.