As you know, F-1 students are required to abide by all immigration regulations relating to F-1 status.  Occasionally, students do not follow these regulations and fall out of status.  Fortunately, the US Citizenship and Immigration Service gives F-1 students the opportunity to regain their status.  There are two ways that you can regain your status.  The first is a process called reinstatement.  The second is through traveling to regain your status. 

It is important that you meet with an advisor to discuss the most appropriate method to regain your status as soon as you learn that you are in violation of your status.  There are time limits on when you can apply for reinstatement and other time-sensitive issues that should be discussed.  Remember that if you do fall out of status, the Director of International Student & Scholar Services is here to help you.  The Director cannot undo or disregard the violation; however, we will work with you so you can regain your status and complete your studies in valid F-1 status.

Eligibility for Reinstatement: 

A student who has violated status may be reinstated to lawful F-1 status at the discretion of a USCIS Adjudicator, but only under the limited conditions as follow:

(A) The student has not been out of status for more than five months;
(B) The violation of status resulted from circumstances beyond the student’s control or that failure to receive reinstatement to lawful F-1 status would result in extreme hardship to the student;
(C) The student is currently pursuing, or intending to pursue, a full course of study at the school that issued the I-20;
(D) The student has not engaged in unauthorized employment; and
(E) The student is not deportable on any ground other than failing to maintain status. 


Procedures for applying for reinstatement:

Reinstatement applications are prepared by the student and the International Student Advisor.  After meeting with an advisor, the student will be responsible for mailing the application to:

Vermont Service Center
ATTN:  I-539
75 Lower Welden Street
St. Albans, VT  05479

An adjudicator will review your application and make a decision whether to reinstate your student status.  The USCIS will notify you and the Director of International Student & Scholar Services about the decision on your reinstatement.

Please see the Reinstatement Filing List detailing the documents required for the reinstatement application.

Alternative to reinstatement: Travel to regain status

The alternative to filing for reinstatement is to travel outside the United States and re-enter the country. The student will receive a new I-20 created specifically to travel and regain status prior to leaving and receive a new I-94 upon re-entering the country.  In order to successfully travel and regain status, the student must have a new I-20, as well as a valid passport and F-1 visa.  Students who received a change of status in the U.S. or whose visas have expired would be required to obtain a new visa at the U.S. embassy or consulate. 

Re-entry can put the student back to F-1 status. However, re-entry to the U.S. after a status violation is viewed by USCIS as a new entry in F-1 status. This means that you will be bound by the regulations for students arriving for the first time to the United States.  Most significantly, this will affect your eligibility for practical training.  If you travel to regain status, you will have to wait one full academic year before you will be eligible for practical training (CPT, OPT) or economic hardship employment authorizations.