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Reinstatement to Active F-1 Status

F-1 visa 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 visa status benefits such as on-campus employment, CPT, and OPT.

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 a new I-20, depart the US and re-enter under a new I-20 with 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 Practical Training (CPT) or Optional Practical Training (OPT).
  • 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)
  • Failure to maintain full-time status while concurrently enrolled
  • Working off-campus without authorization or working beyond the conditions allowed for on-campus employment
  • Failure to extend I-20 before the I-20 Program End Date deadline
  • Failure to enroll by the start of the semester

Eligibility for Reinstatement:

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;
  • 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 engage in unauthorized employment;
  • Not deportable on any ground other than section 237(a)(1)(B) or (C)(i) of the Act; and
  • Establishes to the satisfaction of USCIS, 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:

  • See USCIS Form I-539 processing times: https://egov.uscis.gov/processing-times/.
  • 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 of the US is not recommended while the reinstatement application is pending may be considered an abandonment of the application.
  • If approved, ISSS will notify you and you will regain F-1 benefits.
  • 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 DSO.

Applying for Reinstatement

Step 1 – Schedule an appointment with a DSO

Call or schedule an appointment online with a DSO to assess your eligibility for reinstatement or discuss next steps for being out-of-status. Prior to the appointment, please review and complete Legal Advice and ISSS Advising Statement of Understanding (see page 3 of the Reinstatement to F-1 Student Status Handout). 

Step 2 – Submit the following documents for reinstatement application:

  1. Immigration documents for you and any dependents:
  • All I-20s (from previous institution(s) and Texas State showing continuous valid status)
  • Color copy of unexpired passport
  • Color copy of F-1 visa or I-797 Change of Status Approval Letter
  • Most recent I-94
  1. Complete and sign Form 1-539, Application to Extend Status/Change Nonimmigrant Status
  • Indicate in Part 2 that the application is for reinstatement to student status (checkbox item 3)
  • Write "REINSTATEMENT" at the top of the form to further distinguish it from other uses of Form I-539
  1. Complete and sign Form 1-539A - required for every co-applicant included on Form I-539. Parents may sign for children under age 14. 
    • Important Update for Reinstatement requests: Every co-applicant included on the primary applicant’s Form I-539 must submit and sign a separate Form I-539A. Parents may sign on behalf of children under 14 or any co-applicant who is not mentally competent to sign. Every applicant and co-applicant must pay an $85 biometric services fee, except certain A, G, and NATO nonimmigrants as noted in the new Form I-539 Instructions. Every applicant and co-applicant will receive a biometric services appointment notice, regardless of age, containing their individual receipt number. The biometric services appointments will be scheduled at the Application Support Center (ASC) closest to the primary applicant’s address. Co-applicants who wish to be scheduled at a different ASC location should file a separate Form I-539. USCIS will reject any revised Form I-539 that is missing any of the required signatures or biometrics fees, including those required for Form I-539A.
  2. 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.
  • Describe your violation. You must state the reason for the status violation:
    • how your violation of status resulted from circumstances beyond your control or that failure to be reinstated would result in extreme hardship,
    • the effect of failure to receive reinstatement,
    • you are currently pursuing or intend to pursue a full course of study at Texas State University,
    • specifically request that USCIS reinstate your F-1 student status.
  1. Evidence of financial support demonstrating ability to pay tuition and fees, and living expenses in the US for you and your dependents (if applicable). Must cover the cost of attendance for at least one academic year.
  • 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 US citizen or permanent resident, he/she will need to complete Form I-134, Affidavit of Support
  • Governmental or home country scholarship: Verified with a letter from your university or supplying agency. It should also state if you are eligible for resident tuition.
  1. 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.
  2. Personal checks or money orders payable to the Department of Homeland Security for:
    1. $370.00, Form I-539 filing fee and
    2. $85.00, biometrics service fee for every applicant and co-applicant (your dependents)
  3. New Reinstatement I-20 - Request using the request button below
  4. 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)
  5. Proof of payment of the SEVIS I-901 fee
  • Students out of status for less than 5 months do not have to pay a new SEVIS I-901 fee. Submit a copy of your original I-901 SEVIS Fee payment receipt. Ask the DSO to print your SEVIS profile page showing proof of I-901 fee payment.
  • Students 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

ISSS will mail the packet for you or the student can mail directly to USCIS using the following address. Click to review more information on filing address. 

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

Review Reinstatement to F-1 Student Status Handouts

Note: Reinstatement I-20 process will take approximately 3 - 5 business days.

Helpful Information:

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  • Review: Social Security Office Handout and Directions (San Marcos, Texas)

    Click to 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.