Reinstatement to F-1 StatusAn F-1 student who is not in lawful F-1 status due to an immigration violation of some kind may seek 'reinstatement' to F-1 status. Reinstatement is an application that a student makes to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services requesting permission to remain in the U.S. to continue studies. While the reinstatement does not remove the violation, it effectively allows the student to resume full-time studies and apply for any immigration benefits permitted F-1 students in good standing.
When is Reinstatement Necessary?
An F-1 student may fall out of lawful F-1 status for a number of different reasons, some more serious than others. Some of the common reasons why a student may need reinstatement are the following:
- Failure to enroll on a full-time basis during the autumn / spring semesters, or to obtain OIS authorization for a reduced courseload
- Failure to make full-time progress toward the degree objective
- Failure to apply or qualify for a program extension (I-20 extension) in a timely manner
- Failure to complete a F-1 transfer procedure in a timely manner
- Unlawful employment (working without authorization from the OIS or the USCIS)
Eligibility for Reinstatement
An F-1 student who is not in lawful F-1 status may be eligible to seek reinstatement provided he/she meets certain eligibility requirements.
- The student must intend to continue full-time studies, and be eligible to continue full-time studies
- The student must document adequate financial resources to meet his/her educational and living expenses
- The student must show that the reason for the status violation was inadvertent, and due to reasons or circumstances beyond his/her control
- The student must not have a history of willful status violations
- The status violation must not have taken place more than five (5) months before the date the reinstatement application is filed
- The status violation cannot be due to unlawful employment (this is a non-reinstatable offense)
The OIS will work directly with any student who is not in lawful status regarding reinstatement or other immigration options. The reinstatement application requires a substantial fee (currently $290) and takes 4-6 months to adjudicate. The student may not seek any employment benefits until the reinstatement application has been adjudicated, and only if the decision is favorable. If the application is not favorable, then the student will need to depart the U.S. and apply for a new F-1 visa on the basis of a new Form I-20.