F-1 students who have been terminated or fallen out-of-status can regain status in two ways:
If you think you need to take steps to regain your status, please read the information below and contact ISSS if you have any questions or concerns. ISSS recommends that all students who have fallen out of status consult with an experienced immigration attorney regarding their options to regain status.
An F-1 student can regain status by traveling outside of the U.S. and returning on a brand new “Initial Attendance” I-20 document issued by ISSS. This method of regaining status is usually much faster than applying for reinstatement through USCIS. However, all travel carries some risk. Please review the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Travel FAQ page regarding re-entry for F-1 non-immigrants for further details.
Submit Returning from Leave Request in the ISSS Portal as soon as you are certain of your plans to regain status through travel. ISSS will review your request and, if approved, issue you a new “Initial Attendance” I-20 document. Because you will have a new “Initial” F-1 record, the rules for new students apply to you:
When returning to the U.S., you will need your:
After returning to campus, you must submit an ISSS Check-In Request in the ISSS Portal so that your SEVIS record can be activated.
An F-1 student can regain status by applying to USCIS with a “Request Reinstatement” I-20 document issued by ISSS. Keep in mind that this process can take 9-12 months or possibly more. While your application is pending, you must be enrolled full-time. However, you do not have any benefits associated with F-1 status and cannot work on or off campus .
You are only eligible for reinstatement through USCIS if you meet ALL of the following criteria:
The reinstatement application process is two-step. First you must apply to ISSS for your new I-20 document and then you must apply to USCIS.
ISSS must first recommend you for reinstatement before you can apply to USCIS. We show our recommendation by creating your new “Reinstatement Requested” I-20 Document.
To apply for your new “Reinstatement Requested” I-20 you must first notify ISSS of your intention to file for reinstatement. ISSS will manually add a Reinstatement Request to your ISSS Portal account. You will need to login to the ISSS Portal and click on the request in your Control Center, complete all fields, and submit the request.
ISSS will carefully review your request to determine whether you meet the eligibility requirements listed above. If we find that you are eligible, your request will be approved, and you will receive your new I-20 document. Be sure to sign your new document when you receive it.
After you have your new “Reinstatement Requested” I-20 document from ISSS, you can apply to USCIS for reinstatement of your F-1 status by filing Form I-539. This form can now be filed online .
ISSS will not review I-539 applications as you (as the applicant) are responsible for the completeness and accuracy of your application. The following checklist is provided for your convenience. It should not be viewed as legal advice and is not meant to replace the official instructions listed on the USCIS website. Please visit https://www.uscis.gov/i-539 for the most up-to-date and complete filing information and instructions.
USCIS Application Checklist:
If filing via mail, you must mail the I-539 and supporting documents to the correct USCIS filing address; ISSS recommends you make file copies of all documents before sending to USCIS; Use a receipt-based mailing option with tracking, so that there will be evidence that the documents were received by USCIS.