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 may be 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 for 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 ISSS here. Bring with you all of the documents that are listed below:

  1. Letter written from the student addressed to USCIS (please type, save file, and bring with you to your appointment) 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. The completed Form I-539 found here: www.uscis.gov/sites/default/files/files/form/i-539.pdf (please save as PDF, type answers, save, and bring with you)
  3. An original check or money order, made out to "U.S. Department of Homeland Security" for $370
  4. A copy of your I-94 number printout, found at www.cbp.gov/I94
  5. Copy 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


You will receive a new I-20 on the day of your appointment.

Note: 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 reinstatement. Denial means you must leave the U.S.