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:

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. Submit the ISSO Reinstatement Application: As part of the electronic application, you will be asked to submit the following items:

  • Updated financial support documents showing funds equal to the estimated cost of attendance.
  • A personal letter explaining the circumstances that led to the violation of your status and explain why the circumstances were beyond your control. Your ISSO advisor will review your draft letter and provide you with feedback.
  • An electronic recommendation from your academic advisor confirming your program completion date

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

  • New I-20 marked for reinstatement
  • File form I-539 online 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 14 months to process. You can check processing times at .