Reinstatement To F-1 Status after a Violation

Immigration Regulations State:  An F-1 student who has violated his or her status may be re-instated to lawful F-1 status at the discretion of USCIS and under the following limited conditions: student has not been out of status for more than 5 months, does not have a record of repeated or willful violations, is pursuing or intending to pursue a full course of study, has not engaged in unauthorized employment. 

Actions that will violate status include: being enrolled in less than a full-course of study; not being enrolled at all; or not applying for a program extension of stay in a timely manner.  If you are ‘out of status’ and qualify for reinstatement please follow the steps below:

Failure to Maintain Status and Unlawful Presence

Failure to maintain status in the U.S. could result in Unlawful Presence which carries 3 and 10 year bars for re-entry to the U.S. Read USCIS's August 9, 2018 Accrual of Unlawful Presence memo.  Please discuss your case with your advisor in the International Student and Scholar Office to understand how Unlawful Presence might be applied to your situation.  Your advisor will provide you information and discuss options available to you.

Steps to Apply for Reinstatement

1.  Speak with an advisor in the International Student and Scholar Office 

  • If it is determined that an application for reinstatement is recommended, continue onto step 2 and 3 below. 
  • An alternative option may be to travel and re-enter the U.S. thereby beginning your F1 status again.  Please note that you will not be eligible for benefits (such as CPT or OPT employment) until 1 full academic year following your re-entry to the U.S.

2.  Documents to submit to the ISSO to apply for reinstatement:  Please submit the items below to the ISSO so a new I-20 marked for reinstatement may be issued:

3.  Documents to submit to USCIS with your reinstatement application:

  • New I-20 marked for reinstatement
  • Paper form I-539 found at
    • Payment combining the application and biometrics fees (personal check, cashier’s check, or money order) as described at
    • Attach the following scanned documents:
      • previous I-20
      • current I-94
      • passport and visa page
      • copy of transcripts showing full-time enrollment
      • additional documentation or letters as advised by the ISSO
      • If you’ve been out of status for more than 5 months, you will also need to pay a SEVIS fee and include a receipt of payment 

For your convenience, you can print our Handout for Reinstatement Instructions

Processing times are inconsistent and can change frequently.  Currently I-539 applications are taking anywhere from 6 to 12 months to process.  You can check processing times at