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Reinstating immigration status

It is your responsibility to maintain your F-1 and J-1 status in the United States. If you violate the terms of your immigration status, your SEVIS record will be terminated and your F-1 or J-1 status will no longer be active. To continue your academic studies in the U.S. and be reinstated to active F-1 or J-1 status, you must do one of the following:

  • Exit the U.S. and re-enter with new immigration documents.
  • Apply for reinstatement within the U.S.

If you are a J-1 student, please contact an international student adviser to discuss the reinstatement process.

If you are an F-1 student, please review the guidelines and procedures listed below.

Travel

You must discuss this procedure with an international student adviser before leaving the U.S. Your adviser can talk to you about the risks and the actions you should take to minimize those risks.

In general, the process for returning to active F-1 status via travel is:

  1. Meet with an international student adviser to discuss your situation.
  2. Receive a new I-20 with a remark indicating that you are traveling for reinstatement.
    • You must provide financial documents to verify that you can afford to attend MU. Please refer to the estimated expenses for more detailed information.
    • Your current I-20 will be "terminated" in the SEVIS system. You will be issued an initail I-20 for travel.
  3. Travel out of the U.S., pay a new SEVIS I-901 fee, apply for a new visa and re-enter with the new I-20.
  4. Upon your return to MU, immediately meet with an international student adviser to check-in with the International Center and activate your new SEVIS record.

Reinstatement application

Eligibility

You are eligible to apply for reinstatement if you can prove the following:

  • You have not been out of status for more than five months. If you have been out of status for more than five months, you will have to travel for reinstatement (see instructions above) unless you can prove that there were extraordinary circumstances that prevented you from applying for reinstatement earlier.
  • The status violation must have been beyond your control.
  • You do not have a record of repeated violations.
  • You are pursuing a full course of study.
  • You have not worked illegally. You cannot apply for reinstatement if you have worked illegally. In that case, you must travel for reinstatement (see instructions above).
  • You are not deportable on any grounds other than those for which reinstatement is being requested.

Application process

  1. Meet with an international student adviser to discuss your situation.
  2. Bring the following documents to the meeting with an adviser:
    • A letter explaining why you are out of status and specifically asking to be allowed back into F-1 status.
    • Form I-539 (instructions)
      1. Write "Reinstatement" clearly across the top of the I-539.
      2. In part 1, write "D/S" in the "Expires on" field next to "Current Non-Immigrant Status."
      3. In part 2, number 1c, check the "other" box and write "reinstatement" on the line.
      4. In part 3, number 1, write "D/S" in the field.
    • A check for $370 payable to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.
    • Your original Form I-94.
    • A copy of your current I-20, passport and visa. If you have dependents, you need to provide copies of their documents, too.
    • A copy of the SEVIS receipt from your previous F-1 status.
    • Recent documentation of financial support. Refer to the estimated expenses for more detailed information.
    • Proof of enrollment in a full course of study.
  3. During the meeting with an adviser, you will receive a new I-20 with a remark indicating that you are applying for reinstatement.
  4. Mail the complete application to USCIS at the following address:

    For U.S. Postal Service:
    USCIS
    P.O. Box 660166
    Dallas, TX 75266

    For express mail and courier deliveries:
    USCIS, ATTN: 1-539, 2501 S. State Highway 121,
    Business Suite 400,
    Lewisville, TX 75067

  5. Approximately two weeks after mailing your application, you will receive a receipt with a receipt number. You may use that number to track the status of your case online. While your reinstatement application is pending, you are not eligible to work. If you decide to travel, you would need to apply for a new F-1 visa with a new I-20.
  6. After your application is approved, immediately meet with an international student adviser to have your documents copied for your file and your SEVIS record reactivated. If your application is denied, please meet with an adviser to discuss your options.