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Reinstatement to Active F-1 Status

F-1 students that violate the conditions of their visa by not complying with the Department of Homeland Security rules and regulations are considered out-of-status. A student who is out-of-status is no longer eligible for F-1 status benefits such as on-campus employment, CPT, and OPT among others.

Out-of-status students who wish to continue studying as an F-1 student at (or transfer to) Texas State University must regain valid status. To regain F-1 status, a student may apply for reinstatement in cases where the violation was outside of the student’s control and the student continues to attend, or plans to attend, a program of study. Alternatively, you may request a new SEVIS record with new I-20, depart the US and re-enter under a new I-20 and new SEVIS ID, a valid visa, and valid passport.

Important Notes:

  • Traveling out and re-entering the US to re-establish F-1 status will affect practical training eligibility. Student must re-accumulate one academic year as full-time enrollment to qualify for either curricular or optional practical training.
  • Working without authorization is a violation of your status that CANNOT be corrected through reinstatement. You can only regain status by departing and re-entering the US.

Reasons Why Students Fall Out-of-status:

  • Failure to maintain full-time status throughout the academic semester (i.e. dropping a course in the middle of the semester or enrolling less than full-time without an approved Reduced Course Load-RCL).
  • Failure to maintain full-time status while concurrently enrolled.
  • Working off-campus without proper authorization or working beyond the conditions allowed for on-campus employment.
  • Failure to extend I-20 before the expiration deadline.
  • Failure to enroll by the start of the semester.

Eligibility:

Under federal regulation, an F-1 student is only eligible for reinstatement if all of the following conditions apply:

  • 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 the 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:
  1. 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
  2. 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.

Final Consideration:

  • Processing times vary. Expect 3 – 4 months before receiving a response. Students must maintain full-time enrollment while the reinstatement application is pending.
  • Pending reinstatement students are NOT eligible for any F-1 student benefits unless and until reinstatement is approved.
  • Travel outside the US while the reinstatement application is pending may be considered an abandonment of the application.
  • If approved, the International Office will notify you and you will regain F-1 benefits such as campus employment.
  • If denied, you must depart the US otherwise you will begin to accrue unlawfully presence in the US. A denial cannot be appealed. The effect of a denial is very serious and you should schedule an appointment with the international student advisor. 

Applying for Reinstatement

Step 1 – Schedule an appointment with a DSO

Call the International Office at 512-245-7966 for an appointment with an international advisor to assess your eligibility for reinstatement or discuss next steps for being out-of-status.

Step 2 – Materials to Submit with Reinstatement Application

  1. Immigration documents: all I-20s, passport, F-1 visa, and most recent I-94 (https://i94.cbp.dhs.gov/I94/) for you and any dependents.
  2. Complete and sign Form 1-539 Application to Extend Status/Change Nonimmigrant Status: (http://www.uscis.gov/files/form/i-539.pdf). a. Indicate in Part 2 that the application is for reinstatement to student status (checkbox item 3). b. Write "REINSTATEMENT" at the top of the form to further distinguish it from other uses of Form I-539.
  3. A detailed, typed letter of explanation addressed to USCIS explaining why you fell out of status. The letter should establish convincingly that the violation resulted from circumstances beyond the student's control or relates to a reduction in course load that would have been within the DSO's power to authorize. If related to a failure to obtain a reduced course load authorization, the letter will also have to establish the nature of the extreme hardship the student would face if reinstatement were not granted. a. Describe your violation. You must state the reason for the status violation: i. how your violation of status resulted from circumstances beyond your control or that failure to be reinstated would result in extreme hardship, ii. the effect of failure to receive reinstatement, iii. you are currently pursuing or intend to pursue a full course of study at Texas State, iv. specifically request that USCIS reinstate your F-1 student status.
  4. Evidence of financial support demonstrating ability to pay tuition and fees, and living expenses in the US for you and your dependents (if applicable).
    • Academic assistance: assistantship, scholarships, fellowships: Bring official award letter or email
    • Personal funds: bank statement or a letter on bank letterhead not older than 3 months.
    • If your sponsor is not your parent and is either a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, he/she will need to complete Form I-134 Affidavit of Support (http://www.uscis.gov/files/form/I-134.pdf).
    • Governmental or home country scholarship: Verified with a letter from your college or supplying agency. It should also state if you are eligible for resident tuition.
  5. Academic transcript from all academic institutions attended in the US. Transcript should show current or next session full-time enrollment in courses. A class schedule can be helpful to demonstrate enrollment.
  6. Personal check or money order payable to the Department of Homeland Security for $370.00 (do not write as DHS).
  7. New I-20 with: "Reinstatement requested.” Use the submission button below.
  8. Any other documentation that helps establish the nature of the violation, to document that the violation occurred less than 5 months ago, or to justify why it should be accepted even if the violation occurred more than 5 months ago (i.e. medical documentation, or DSO letter if due to DSO’s error, etc.)
  9. Proof of payment of the SEVIS I-901 fee, if the student has been out of status for more than 5 months.
    • Students who have been out of status for less than 5 months do not have to pay a new SEVIS I-901 fee.
    • Students who have been out of status for more than 5 months have to pay a new SEVIS I-901 fee [8 CFR 214.13(d)(7)], and include proof of payment with their reinstatement application.

Step 3 – Mailing Documents

The International Office will mail the packet for you or the student can mail directly to USCIS using the following: See more information on filing address: https://www.uscis.gov/i-539-addresses

For U.S. Postal Service (USPS):

USCIS

P.O. Box 660867

Dallas, TX 75266

For FedEx, UPS, and DHL deliveries:

USCIS Attn: I-539

2501 S. State Hwy. 121 Business

Suite 400 Lewisville, TX 75067

Download the Reinstatement Handout for further information

Reinstatement I-20 process will take 3-5 business days

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  • You will need to visit the Social Security Administration Office and bring the following documents to apply for an social security number (SSN):

    • Your most recent I-20
    • Your hiring letter
      • If you employer needs more information on hiring an international student or a hiring letter template visit here.
    • Passport, Visa, and I-94 (print your I-94 here)

    Locate a Social Security Administration Office near you.

  • (i) Curricular practical training. An F-1 student may be authorized by the DSO to participate in a curricular practical training program that is an integral part of an established curriculum. Curricular practical training is defined to be alternative work/study, internship, cooperative education, or any other type of required internship or practicum that is offered by sponsoring employers through cooperative agreements with the school. Students who have received one year or more of full time curricular practical training are ineligible for post-completion academic training. Exceptions to the one academic year requirement are provided for students enrolled in graduate studies that require immediate participation in curricular practical training. A request for authorization for curricular practical training must be made to the DSO. A student may begin curricular practical training only after receiving his or her Form I-20 with the DSO endorsement.

  • 10) Practical training. Practical training may be authorized to an F-1 student who has been lawfully enrolled on a full time basis, in a SEVIS-approved college, university, conservatory, or seminary for one full academic year. This provision also includes students who, during their course of study, were enrolled in a study abroad program, if the student had spent at least one full academic term enrolled in a full course of study in the United States prior to studying abroad. A student may be authorized 12 months of practical training, and becomes eligible for another 12 months of practical training when he or she changes to a higher educational level. Students in English language training programs are ineligible for practical training. An eligible student may request employment authorization for practical training in a position that is directly related to his or her major area of study. There are two types of practical training available: Curricular Practical Training and Optional Practical Training.