Reinstatement of F-1 Status
As a student in F-1 status, you are expected to comply with immigration regulations. If you fail to comply with these regulations, you will be "out of status." When you are out of status, you are no longer eligible for on-campus employment, practical training, recertification of your I-20 for reentry to the US or any other benefits of F-1 status. IT IS YOUR JOB TO MAINTAIN YOUR STATUS!!!
The following are considered violations of your F-1 status:
- Failure to attend the school whose I-20 you used to enter the United States
- Failure to maintain full-time registration
- Failure to request a Program Extension before the completion date on your I-20, if you need more time to complete your current program
- Failure to obtain a new I-20 if you change your educational program or degree level
Reinstatement allows you the opportunity to regain valid F-1 status. You may be eligible for reinstatement only if you:
- Are currently enrolled or intend to enroll for a full-time course load
- Can establish that the violation of status resulted from circumstances beyond your control
- Have not engaged in unauthorized employment
- Have not been out of status for more than five months
- Can document sufficient financial resources to pursue a full-time course load
- Do not have a history of repeated violations
- Are not deportable from the US on any other grounds
The application for reinstatement is made by you directly to USCIS. The Woodbury International Student Advisor does not have a role in approving your application. Only USCIS can reinstate your status. However, International Student Advisors are available to review your application before you submit it if you wish.**
You must provide:
- A new, original I-20 created for you by the International Student Advisor for the purposes of reinstatement that you have signed and dated. You must submit the original I-20 for reinstatement applications.
- Financial documentation showing one year of tuition, fees and living expenses
- Copies of your passport, visa and I-94 card
- Copies of all I-20s previously issued to you
- A payment to Department of Homeland Security in the amount of $290
- Personal statement explaining exactly why you went out of status
- I-539 Form completed
If you have dependents in the US, you must also include them in the application since a violation of your F-1 status affects your dependent family members as well.
Processing times for reinstatement applications vary; however, it may take as long as six months for the application to be adjudicated. Although you may continue to study while the application is pending (in fact, you are required to register full time during this period), you will not be eligible for any type of employment until the reinstatement is approved.
Alternative to Reinstatement
You also have the option of traveling to regain status instead of applying for reinstatement. When you travel to regain status, you are issued a new I-20 for "initial attendance" with a new SEVIS ID number. You then leave the U.S. and reenter using the new I-20. When you enter the U.S. and receive an I-94 marked "F-1 D/S," you will once again be in valid F-1 status. However, if you choose to travel to regain status, you will forfeit any time you have accrued toward practical training eligibility. You will need to be registered for one academic year in order to qualify for practical training.
**Woodbury University reserves the right to refuse assistance with reinstatements due to the above-mentioned violations of status. If we determine that your SEVIS profile/I-20 termination occurred in spite of your best efforts to maintain good standing, we will happily assist you in facilitating a reinstatement. Otherwise, we will recommend that you get an immigration attorney to provide assistance with your reinstatement.