If a student’s F-1 status has been terminated due to a violation of status, a student has two options to correct his/her status. The first option is through an application process done in the US called reinstatement. The second option is to return home and enter the US with a new I-20 with a new SEVIS I-20 number.
Option 1: Reinstatement
A student is eligible to apply for reinstatement in the US through the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) if he/she meets all of the following criteria:
- The student has not been out of status longer than 5 months prior to the reinstatement being submitted
- The student does not have a list of repeated immigration violations
- The student is pursuing a full course of study as required for F-1 students (please see the section entitled ‘Enrollment and Registration Requirements’)
- The student has not or is not engaged in illegal employment
- The student does not have any other violations which can cause his/her deportation
- The termination occurred because of circumstances beyond the student’s control, etc…
- If a student leaves the United States while the reinstatement is pending, the application will automatically be cancelled.
- If the termination was because of suspension from the school or program of study, the student must first re-apply for admission and be accepted into a program of study before starting the reinstatement process.
- The student will need to complete and/or gather all documents before meeting with an international advisor for review.
- The student will need to review all the documents with an international advisor in the Office of International Programs before submitting to USCIS.
- The student will need to make an appointment to see an international advisor (to ensure the availability of the advisor). To schedule an appointment, please contact the Office of International Programs.
The required documents/steps are:
- Complete the I-539 form and pay the processing fee. The processing fee can be paid by check or money order made payable to the Department of Homeland Security and must be mailed with the completed application. For more information, and to print the form, please visit the USCIS website: www.uscis.gov, click on “Forms”, click on I-539.
- Submit the original I-20 (with the same SEVIS number) requested for reinstatement from the Office of International Programs (this will be done by an OIP international advisor once all other documents are completed).
- Pay the I-901 SEVIS fee and obtain a receipt. The I-901 SEVIS fee can be paid at: www.fmjfee.com. The student must have an I-20 SEVIS number before paying the fee
- Other documents to be included in the application packet:
- Original I-94 card
- Copies of visa and passport
- Copies of financial support documents (these will be the same ones that were used for the I-20)
- Letter from the student: This letter should explain the circumstances surrounding the termination and why the circumstances were beyond your control. It should also explain why the student wishes to be reinstated.
After the international advisor reviews the completed reinstatement documents, the student will need to mail all the documents together and send to the address listed on the I-539 webpage (www.uscis.gov, click on “Forms”, click on I-539).
- Applicants for a reinstatement should be aware that it can take 6-9 months for the reinstatement to be approved. Applicants should also provide a current, accurate mailing address because USCIS will correspond to the student through the United States Postal Service. If there are additional documents needed for the reinstatement USCIS will contact the student directly, not ASU.
- During the adjudication process, the student does not receive any F-1 benefits including on-campus work, OPT, etc…
- Travel outside the US will cancel the reinstatement
- If the reinstatement is approved the student will be back in status and must follow all rules associated with F-1 status.
- If the reinstatement is not approved the student will need to leave the US immediately. The student should understand every day he/she was in the US illegally (including the days he/she was awaiting the results of the reinstatement) can seriously hurt his/her chances to return to the US. For example, if the student is in the US for 180 days unlawfully, the student can be denied entry to the US for 3 years).
Option 2: Return Home
A student who does not want to wait for the reinstatement process, or who needs to leave the US, can correct their status by reentering the US with a new SEVIS I-20 (with a new SEVIS number). If Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) officers allow the student to reenter, the student’s status will be corrected. However, CBP officers have the ability to deny entry of a student who has a termination on his/her record.
- The student must re-apply for admission and be accepted into a program of study. This can be done in the US or outside the US.
- The student will be issued a new I-20 with a new SEVIS number. The I-20 can be mailed to the student if the student is not in the US.
- The student must pay a new SEVIS fee on the I-20. The fee can be paid at: www.fmjfee.com
- If the student’s visa is still valid, the student should contact the US embassy in his/her country to determine if a new visa must be issued since the SEVIS number on the visa will be different than the new I-20.
- If a student wants to leave the US and reenter to correct his/her status, the student should return home. If a student attempts to leave the US and go to a country other than his/her home country and then reenter the US, the student may be denied entry.
- If a student chooses this option, he/she must read the information under the “Travel” section.
- The student should understand every day he/she is in the US illegally can seriously hurt his/her chances to return to the US. For example, if the student is in the US for 180 days unlawfully, the student can be denied entry to the US for 3 years).