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International student advisors are required to report certain violations of status to United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and the Department of State by terminating a student's SEVIS record. A termination effectively ends your immigration status and your authorization to study in the Untied States. In some cases, you may eligible to submit a petition to USCIS for reinstatement to lawful F-1 or J-1 status.

Eligibility to Petition for Reinstatement

To be eligible for reinstatement, you must show that the violation of status was due to circumstances beyond your control. In cases of unauthorized employment and unauthorized drop below full-time enrollment, reinstatement petitions will generally be denied because they are usually due to willful actions on the student's part.

Reinstatement is most appropriate for "technical" violations, such as:

  • Failure to report your arrival at the start of your program
  • Failure to apply for an extension of stay before your current program end date
  • Failure to report a change of address within 10 days of moving
  • Failure to maintain required health insurance coverage (J-1 students)

Reinstatement petitions must be filed within five months of the termination of your SEVIS record. USCIS will not review reinstatement petitions submitted after the filing deadline has passed.

Petition Process

Step 1 - Meet with an international student advisor to discuss your eligibility for reinstatement.

We strongly recommend meeting with an advisor as soon as possible after you become aware of the violation to discuss reinstatement and the petition process.

Step 2 - Gather required documentation and submit to ISSS.

  • Form I-539 - Application to Extend/Change Non-Immigrant Status
  • Personal check or money order for $290, made payable to Department of Homeland Security
  • Current financial documentation covering expenses for duration of your program
  • Official transcripts from all schools you have attended in the United States
  • Photocopy of your passport ID page, including any extension or renewal pages
  • Photocopy of your U.S. visa
  • Original I-94 Arrival/Departure card

In addition to the documentation above, you must also write a letter to USCIS with the following points:

  • Explanation of why you are out of status, specifying the violation.
  • Explanation of why the violation occurred.
  • Explanation of why you are requesting reinstatement, stating how not being reinstated will affect you.
  • Statement confirming that you are pursuing or intending to pursue a full-course of study.

Step 3 - Submit petition for reinstatement to USCIS for review.

An international student advisor will submit your petition to USCIS on your behalf. We will notify you if additional documentation is required and once a decision has been made on the petition.

Status during Review of Petition

Reinstatement petitions may take up to four months to adjudicate. While the application is in process, you must continue to meet all enrollment and reporting requirements of your immigration status. You may not engage in on- or off-campus employment until the reinstatement request has been approved. We strongly recommend not traveling outside the United States while your petition is in process.

Status after Approval of Petition

If your petition is approved, USCIS will reinstated you to lawful immigration status and return your immigration documents to our office. Your SEVIS record will be returned to "active" status, and the termination will be removed from your immigration record. You may resume on-campus employment and authorized off-campus employment once the reinstatement approval notice and your I-94 Arrival/Departure card have been received from USCIS.