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F-1: Reinstatement

F-1 students who fail to maintain their status have a choice of two methods to request to correct their status:

Apply for Reinstatement to USCIS.
  • ISSS does not advise students on the reinstatement process with USCIS. We encourage students to work with an immigration attorney.
  • Once ISSS has determined that an application for an I-20 for Reinstatement is acceptable, we will issue the I-20 to the student. Please consult with your immigration attorney on your Reinstatement application to USCIS.

2. Travel out of the U.S. and re-enter the U.S. on a new SEVIS record.
  • If you select this option, do not submit a Reinstatement request. Instead, request that ISSS invite you to create a new Initial I-20. Contact for instructions. 

  • A new Initial I-20 will have a new SEVIS ID number. 
  • Any time accrued toward benefit eligibility, such as OPT, does not carry over to a new SEVIS record.
  • If you do not have a currently valid F-1 visa, you will need to obtain a new F-1 visa while outside of the U.S. before returning to the U.S. 

Students should meet with an immigration attorney to discuss the benefits and drawbacks of both options before making a final decision on which route to take.

You may apply for Reinstatement to F‐1 status to USCIS if you can establish the following as detailed in Regulations 8 C.F.R. § 214.2 (f)(16)(i):

  • The student has not been out of status for more than 5 months at the time of filing the request for reinstatement (or demonstrates that the failure to file within the 5 month period was the result of exceptional circumstances and that the student filed the request for reinstatement as promptly as possible under these exceptional circumstances);
  • The student does not have a record of repeated or willful violations of Service regulation;
  • The student is currently pursuing, or intending to pursue, a full course of study in the immediate future at the school which issued the Form I­20;
  • The student has not engaged in unauthorized employment;
  • The student is not deportable on any ground other than section 237(a)(1)(B) or (C)(i) of the Act (such as overstaying or failing to maintain status); and
  • The student establishes to the satisfaction of the Service, by a detailed showing, either that:
    1. The violation of status resulted from circumstances beyond the student's control. Such circumstances might include serious injury or illness, closure of the institution, a natural disaster, or inadvertence, oversight, or neglect on the part of the DSO, but do not include instances where a pattern of repeated violations or where a willful failure on the part of the student resulted in the need for reinstatement; or
    2. The violation relates to a reduction in the student's course load that would have been within a DSO's power to authorize, and that failure to approve reinstatement would result in extreme hardship to the student.

Application Procedure
  1. Meet with your International Student Advisor to discuss your options.
  2. Request a reinstatement I-20 through the ISSS Portal.  You must provide the follow documents to receive the Reinstatement I-20:
    • Passport
    • Visa
    • Financial Support Documents
    • Declaration of Finances
  3. Write a strong essay with your case explanation.  This will be required to include with your Reinstatement Application.  Include the following information:
    • ​​The reason for the violation of F-1 status and why it was beyond your control;
    • Along with the explanation, please submit any evidence that supports your explanation (letter from academic advisor, medical excuse, etc.);
    • That you intend to maintain your F-1 status in the future;
    • That you have not worked without authorization;
    • If you have a complex situation, a timeline of events can also be helpful to clarify your situation.
  4. Meet with an Immigration attorney to assist them in filing the reinstatement application to USCIS.
  5. Work with your attorney to prepare your application materials, including:
    • Fee of $420 if filing online
    • Fee for $85 using check, money order or G1450 credit card form to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security for fingerprinting requirement
    • Proof of SEVIS fee payment (I-901). You can reprint it from
    • Completed and signed I-539. Write "Reinstatement" in red ink on top of the 1st page
    • Your essay requesting F-1 Reinstatement
    • Letter from DSO Explaining Reason for Reinstatement (optional)
    • Copy of New SEVIS I-20 for F-1 Reinstatement, p. 1 and p. 2
    • Any other support letters (if applicable)
    • Copy of I-94
    • Copy of your visa in your passport
    • Copy(ies) of picture and expiration pages of the passport
    • Copy of all previously issued I-20's
    • Original transcripts from Marymount University and the transcript of each previously attended school in the U.S. while in F-1 status. A print out of the courses you are currently enrolled in should be included.
    • Completed Declaration of Finances and Proof of Funding, originals (with currency conversions if in a foreign currency)
  6. Submit your application to USCIS either online or by mailing a paper application.

Notes about applying for Reinstatement
A decision to reinstate an individual to F‐1 student status is at the discretion of the USCIS.
  • Processing times at USCIS vary greatly.  Expect to wait 8-16 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 USCIS reinstates you to F-1 status.
  • Travel outside the US while a reinstatement application is pending may be considered an abandonment of application.  If you need to leave the US while your application is pending, you must meet with an immigration attorney prior to traveling to discuss your options.
  • If the application is approved, USCIS will endorse the new I‐20 form and return it to the mailing  address listed on the I 539 form.  ISSS will contact you if we receive any updates on your behalf.  Please also contact ISSS when you receive information from USCIS.  (F‐2 dependent status is  automatically reinstated with the reinstatement of the F‐1 student.) 
  • If the application is denied, you will begin to accrue days of unlawful presence in the US.  Accrual of more than 180 days of unlawful presence could subject a person to a 3‐year or 10‐year bar from re-entering the US.  Students who are denied reinstatement have the option to file an appeal with USCIS, but should hire a competent immigration attorney for help with this process.