Reinstatement of F-1 Student Status

An international student holds F-1 visa student status, which is valid while the status holder is studying in the educational institution that issued the student visa. An international student may fall out of legal status and could not afford to travel out of the United States and interfere with course work. An international student may also fall out of status because tuition fees become not affordable. Therefore, it is useful to understand the application to reinstate F-1 student status with USCIS.

How do I submit an application for F-1 status reinstatement?

There are two ways to reinstate your F-1 student status

  1. You may travel outside of the United States and re-enter with an initial attendance student visa

  2. You may apply for reinstatement on an application to extend or change your non-immigrant status with USCIS

In doing so, the student is starting over with their F-1 status with a new arrival and departure card, or I-94. USCIS recognizes this as a valid method for correcting status. If the F-1 visa for international student is still valid, he or she may not need to apply for another F-1 visa outside of the United States. The school must issue the student a new student visa for purpose of readmission into the United States.

Do I need to prove my financial ability again to reinstate my F-1 status with USCIS?

International students applying for re-admission must also produce evidence of financial ability to pay for the tuition and living expenses at the port of entry. It would be useful to bring a letter of good standing from the school as well as any past transcripts and attendance records.

There is a slight disadvantage to re-entering the United States on a valid F-1 visa. Under immigration law, international students will become eligible off-campus employment if they re-entered after they have fallen out of status, as they maintain their F-1 status for another year.

What requirements do I need to satisfy for F-1 Reinstatement?

To reinstate your F-1 student visa status, you:

  1. have not been out of status for more than 5 months at the time of filing the request for reinstatement (or 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.)

  2. must not have a record of repeated or willful violations of immigration law

  3. must currently be pursuing, or intending to pursue a full course of study in the immediate future at the school which issued the student visa

  4. must not have engaged in unauthorized employment

  5. must not be deportable on any ground other than being present in violation of law

  6. Establish to the satisfaction of USCIS, in detail, showing either that (a) the violation of status resulted from circumstances beyond the student's control, or (b) the violation relates to a reduction in the student's course load that would have been with a designated school official's power to authorize, and that the failure to approve reinstatement would result in extreme hardship to the student

What documents do I need for my F-1 reinstatement application?

  • Applicant's Statement: A declaration from the applicant explaining eligibility issues and explanations for not maintaining legal status

  • Evidence of good attendance record from and fair grades on transcripts

  • Evidence of financial ability to pay for tuition and living expenses

  • Valid passport, I-94 arrival and departure card and visa

  • All previously issued student visas