When you are admitted to the United States in F-1 status, you are expected to comply with certain immigration regulations. If you fail to do so, you will be considered “out of status” and will need to apply to the United States and Immigration Services (USCIS) for reinstatement. Only by seeking reinstatement can you regain certain benefits attached to F-1 status, such as the ability to work on campus, engage in practical training, or receive certification for re-entry into the U.S. after travel abroad.
When is reinstatement necessary?
The following are considered violations of F-1 status that may necessitate reinstatement:
- Failure to attend the school whose SEVIS I-20 you used to enter the United States
- Failure to maintain full-time registration as required
- Failure to apply for a program extension within the 30-day period before the completion date on your SEVIS I-20 , if you need more time to complete your current program
- Failure to obtain a new SEVIS I-20 if you change your educational program or degree level and notify the USCIS within 15 days of beginning the new program or level
- Failure to obtain a new SEVIS I-20 and notify USCIS within 15 days of registering at Baruch College if you transfer to Baruch from another school or institution
Who is eligible to be reinstated?
Reinstatement is possible if you:
- Are pursuing a full-time course of study
- Can document sufficient financial resources to pursue a full-time course of study
- Can establish that the violation of F-1 status resulted from circumstances beyond your control or that failure to be reinstated would result in extreme hardship
- Are not deportable from the United States on any grounds
- Have not been out of status for more than five months at a time of filling the reinstatement
Note that certain kinds of violations cannot be remedied through reinstatement and require you depart the United States. These violations include working in the U.S. without appropriate, prior authorization from the International Student Service Center (ISSC) or the USCIS.
In order to apply for reinstatement, you must first qualify for an SEVIS I-20 issued specifically for this purpose. Please contact ISSC to determine whether or not you are eligible for reinstatement. If so, ISSC will issue a new SEVIS I-20 for reinstatement to allow you to submit an application to the USCIS. Make sure that any accompanying dependents are included on the SEVIS I-20, since any status violations you commit also affect them.
Please note that you make the reinstatement application directly to the USCIS. ISSC can examine your application and offer guidance, but we do have a role in endorsing or approving your application; only the USCIS can reinstate you to F-1 status.
Your reinstatement application should include the following:
- Your written requests to the USCIS for reinstatement, explaining the circumstances for being out of status
- Letter from academic advisement indicating when you will complete your degree requirements
- Official copy of your current transcript
- A signed and dated SEVIS I-20 for reinstatement, with financial documentation covering the tuition, fees, and living expenses for your program of study
- A completed form I-539
- A bank check or money order made payable to “U.S. Department of Homeland Security” in the amount of $370.00
- Photocopy of your passport identification page (do not send your passport)
- Photocopies of all previous SEVIS I-20(s)
- Photocopy of your electronic Form I-94 record showing that you were admitted in F-1 status for “duration of status”
Be sure to photocopy all your application material for your own records before sending it to the USCIS.
Send the application by certified mail, return receipt requested to USCIS. Note that the address differs depending on the delivery service you choose.
|USPS||USPS, express mail and courier deliveries|
P.O. Box 660166
Dallas, TX 75266
What happens next?
If the reinstatement is approved, the USCIS adjudicator will endorse your SEVIS I-20 to indicate that you have been reinstated and return it to you. If your application is denied, you will be notified and required to leave the U.S. Please bring your USCIS response to ISSC so we may advise you and update your file.
Processing times for reinstatement applications may vary and can take as long as 6-8 months. Although you may continue to study, you are not eligible for any privileges associated with F-1 status such as on-campus employment or practical training while your application is pending.
Alternative to reinstatement
An alternative to reinstatement requires that you depart the United States and return on a new SEVIS I-20 marked for “initial attendance.” If you choose this alternative, you forfeit any time accrued toward practical training eligibility. You must again wait nine months from the date you re-enter on the new SEVIS I-20 in order to re-establish your eligibility for practical training.
Contact ISSC for more information.
Traveling after reinstatement
Students who receive reinstatement from USCIS must apply for a new F-1 student visa when traveling outside of U.S. Be advised that at this time, the U.S. embassy will request a copy of your receipt of payment of for the $200.00 SEVIS Fee.