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Reinstatement to F-1 Status

A student who has violated status may be reinstated to lawful F-1 status at the discretion of an USCIS district director, but only under the limited conditions specified at 8 CFR 214.2(f)(16). The USCIS district director may consider reinstating an F-1 student who makes a request for reinstatement on Form I-539 accompanied by a properly completed Form I-20 indicating the Designated School Official (DSO)'s recommendation for reinstatement. The district director may consider granting the request if the student:

  • Has not been out of status for more than 5 months at the time of filing the request for reinstatement (or demonstrates that 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);
  • Does not have a record of repeated or willful violations of Service regulations;
  • Is currently pursuing, or intending to pursue, a full course of study in the immediate future at the school which issued the Form I–20;
  • Has not engaged in unauthorized employment;
  • Is not deportable on any ground other than section 237(a)(1)(B) or (C)(i) of the Act; and
  • Establishes to the satisfaction of the Service, by a detailed showing, either that:
    • The violation of status resulted from circumstances beyond the student's control. Such circumstances might include serious injury or illness, closure of the institution, a natural disaster, or inadvertence, oversight, or neglect on the part of the DSO, but do not include instances where a pattern of repeated violations or where a willful failure on the part of the student resulted in the need for reinstatement; or
    • The violation relates to a reduction in the student's course load that would have been within a DSO's power to authorize, and that failure to approve reinstatement would result in extreme hardship to the student.

How to apply for reinstatement

Reviewed & Revised: February 2009
Student Services Office

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