Reinstatement Guide


A student who has failed to maintain status may be reinstated to lawful F-1 status at the discretion of the USCIS under limited conditions.


A student is eligible for reinstatement if:

  • The student has not been out of status for more than 5 months prior to filing for reinstatement (unless he or she can show that there were exceptional circumstances that prevented the student from filing during the 5-month period).
  • The student does not have a record of repeated violations.
  • The student is pursuing, or will in the next term be pursuing, a full course of study.
  • The student is not engaged in unauthorized employment (if done so, advised to leave US).
  • The student is not deportable on any grounds other that the status violation for which the reinstatement is being requested.
  • The status violation resulted from circumstances beyond the student’s control.
  • Failure to apply in an immigration benefit in which ISSS would have authorized.
  • The student would experience extreme hardship if the application were not approved.


To Apply
  • Make an appointment with an ISSS advisor using Web Scheduler. Bring the following documents with you:
  1. Letter written from the student addressed to USCIS stating the reason for violating F-1 status; the effect on the student of failure to receive reinstatement; a statement that he or she is currently pursuing or is intending to pursue a full course of study; and specifically request USCIS to reinstate him or her to F-1 status.
  2. Complete and sign Form I-539
  3. $290 check or money order payable to U.S. Department of Homeland Security
  4. Current I-94 number printount, found here.
  5. Copies of passport (biographical and expiration pages)
  6. Copy of Visa
  7. Financial documents (less than 6 months old)
  8. Original transcripts from all schools attended
  9. Any other evidence that might help explain the nature of the violation
  10. If out of status for more than 5 months, pay $200 SEVIS fee online at and include a copy of the receipt

Note: you will receive a new I-20 on the day of your appointment.

  • Once you receive a response from USCIS, you must bring those documents to ISSS to update the system. Please note there is no guarantee of approval of change of status. Denial means you must leave the U.S.


Reinstatement Guide