What is Reinstatement?
When you are admitted to the United States in F-1 status, you are expected to comply with certain immigration regulations. If you fail to comply with these regulations, you will be considered "out of status" and will need to apply to USCIS for "reinstatement." Only by seeking reinstatement can you regain certain benefits attached to F-1 status, such as the ability to work on-campus, to engage in practical training, or to receive certification for re-entry into the U.S. after travel abroad.Students who have failed to maintain their F-1 student status are entitled to apply to the USCIS to ask to be reinstated (returned) to student status.
The following are considered violations of your F-1 status:
- Failure to attend the school whose I-20 you used to enter the United States
- Failure to report to ISS for initial registration in SEVIS upon arrival
- Failure to maintain full-time registration
- Failure to request a transfer from Santa Clara University within 60 days of completion date or OPT end date from the previous school
- Failure to apply for a Program Extension before the completion date on your I-20, if you need more time to complete your current program
- Failure to obtain a new I-20 if you change your educational program or degree level
- Failure to report address change to the ISS within 10 days moving
Reinstatement allows you the opportunity to regain valid F-1 status and have the mistakes you made corrected by USCIS.
You may be eligible for reinstatement only if you:
- Are currently enrolled or intend to enroll for a full-time course load
- Can establish that the violation of status resulted from circumstances beyond your control
- Have not engaged in unauthorized employment
- Have not been out of status for more than 5 months
- Can document sufficient financial resources to pursue a full-time course load
- Do not have a history of repeated violations
- Are not deportable from the US on any other grounds
When students show clearly that the violation of the rules happened for reasons beyond their control or that the violation was merely technical and not serious, the USCIS is more inclined to forgive the violation and return the student to proper status. Students can also be reinstated if they can show that failure to regain status would result in serious hardship. Please meet with an ISS advisor to review the process and discuss your eligibility for reinstatement.
Students should submit the following documents to USCIS:
- A new SCU issued I-20 indicating that it has been issued for the purpose of an application for "Reinstatement". (Student must sign item #11).
- Photocopies of all previously issued I-20s (from SCU and any other US colleges attended).
- A completed and signed Form I-539 (Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status) with all questions answered.
- A letter no longer than one page written by the student providing the facts and circumstances which resulted in the violation of status. Students should mention that they are currently enrolled in a full load of classes and also explain how a hardship would result from not being returned to F-1 student status.
- Original Form I-94 (Arrival/Departure card issued to you upon arrival as an F-1 student).
- Photocopies of the biographical and F-1 visa pages of the passport.
- Official copies of transcripts from all the schools attended while in the United States (must be in a sealed envelope).
- Documents which establish the necessary financial support to complete the program of study.
- A check or money order made out to "U.S. Department of Homeland Security" for $290.00.
Students should place on top of all the materials submitted to USCIS, a bright colored paper stating: "THIS IS AN APPLICATION FOR REINSTATEMENT".
These application materials should be sent through certified mail with a return receipt to:
USCIS California Service Center
P.O. Box 660166
Dallas, TX 75266
- Make photocopies of all materials mailed to the USCIS.
- See the SCU international student advisor immediately after you receive the USCIS response to your reinstatement application.
Note: While the reinstatement application is pending, the student may NOT work.