If you have violated your F-1 student status, you have two options to regain your F-1 status. Each option has its merits and risks. Contact your primary immigration advisor to discuss and decide which option is best for you. Following is general information about regaining F-1 status.
Regaining Status by Reinstatement
Reinstatement is an option for an F-1 student who fails to maintain status and wishes to regain status without leaving the U.S.
In general, to be eligible for reinstatement, the student must:
- Not be out of status for more than five months at the time of filing or show the exceptional circumstance that prevented filing in that time frame.
- Not have a record of repeated or willful violations of regulations
- Not have worked without authorization
- Be pursuing or intend to pursue a full course of study in the immediate future at your school.
- Not be deportable for any reason other than failing to maintain F-1 or M-1 status.
- Be able to show that circumstances beyond the student’s control caused the status violation or the student fell below a full course load for a reason the DSO could have used to authorize a reduced course load, and the student would experience extreme hardship, if the student fails to get reinstatement.
If the student has been out of status for more than five months, he or she must also:
- Pay the $350 SEVIS I-901 Fee again
- Explain why the reinstatement application could not be filed sooner.
File a Reinstatement application online at https://www.uscis.gov/i-539 and pay the $370 filing fee. Upload scans or pdf of the following documents when prompted in the online application process:
- Evidence of source and amount of financial support
- A letter requesting reinstatement to F-1 student status which explains your situation and states that the failure to maintain status was due to one of the eligible reasons.
- Reinstatement I-20 (Submit financial documents that show enough funds to cover estimated cost for least three quarters)
- passport identification and visa pages
- Current transcript and transcripts from other U.S. schools previously attended
- Any other supporting documentation
Note* Reinstatement application can take several months to process. Student should continue to enroll in classes while reinstatement is pending. Student cannot work while the reinstatement is pending.
Regaining Status by Travel and Re-entry
The second option to regain F-1 status is to depart and re-enter the U.S. Student may do this by obtaining a new I-20 from Seattle U and reentering using the initial I-20. Student will need to apply for a new visa if the F-1 visa stamp in the passport has expired.
- Submit financial documents that show enough funds to cover estimated cost for least three quarters to obtain the Initial I-20 from ISC
- Pay $350 SEVIS I-901 Fee
- Depart U.S. and re-enter with new Initial I-20
- Submit the new I-94 and a copy of F-1 visa stamp to ISC to receive a Continued Attendance I-20
Note *Students who reenter the U.S. using a new initial I-20 will be required to complete one academic year before becoming eligible to apply for off-campus employment authorization.