F-1 Students: How to Apply for Reinstatement


It seems appropriate that we address school issues right around now with finals finishing up at most places.   If one is attending school on an F-1 visa here in the US, the school must keep track of the foreign student’s status on SEVIS.

What happens if stops going to class?  Essentially that means one has fallen out of status.

If a foreign student falls out of status, the student must request reinstatement within five months of whatever event triggered the falling out of status.  If one doesn’t do so within the five months, that can be forgiven assuming it was due to exceptional circumstances and the student filed for reinstatement as soon as those exceptional circumstances permitted the student to do so.

The F-1 student must apply for reinstatement while in the US to the USCIS office having jurisdiction.  The student submits should submit:

1)  A form I-539

2) SEVIS Form I-20 from the school of intended enrollment

3) All necessary documentation that the student’s status violations were beyond the student’s control (which includes serious illness or injury, natural disaster, etcetera).

Of course, the USCIS frowns upon repeated or willful violations — meaning that the reinstatement should really be a one shot deal

I have to emphasize how important it is to work with the school’s designated officer in all cases involving one’s F-1 visa.

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