Options to regain valid F-1 status

  • The process to regain valid F-1 status can be challenging. We want to discuss your options with you. We also encourage you to contact an immigration attorney so you can make an informed decision and consider the risks with both options.

    Option 1

    Reinstatement

    When requesting reinstatement, you must establish to the satisfaction of United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) that you:

    • Have not been out of status more than 5 months at the time of filing the request for reinstatement (or demonstrate that the failure to file within the 5-month period was the result of exceptional circumstances and that you filed for reinstatement as soon as possible under these circumstances).
    • Do not have a record of repeated or willful violations of immigration regulations.
    • Are currently pursuing, or intending to pursue, a full course of study in the immediate future at the school which issued the Form I-20.
    • Have not engaged in unauthorized employment.
    • Are not deportable on any ground other than overstaying or failing to maintain status.

    If USCIS approves the reinstatement request, the adjudicating officer will endorse your I-20 to indicate that you have been reinstated and will return the I-20 to you. If USCIS does not approve the reinstatement request, you may not appeal the decision and need to prepare to leave the U.S. immediately.

     

    Reinstatement Application Procedure

    1. Schedule an appointment with your DSO to discuss your options to regain F-1 status. At the appointment the DSO will review your eligibility for F-1 reinstatement and will discuss the application process.
    2. Prepare your reinstatement application following the list of documents below. Submit your reinstatement application to USCIS by mail. (The online USCIS application option is no longer available).Mail the following documents to the USCIS Lockbox.
    • Form I-539 (form can be found online at www.uscis.gov)
    • Check or money order made payable to “U.S. Department of Homeland Security” for USCIS filing fee
    • Photocopies of all previously-issued I-20s
    • Original I-94 or I-94 printout obtained at https://i94.cbp.dhs.gov/I94/
    • Photocopy of new Reinstatement I-20 signed by DSO
    • Evidence of source and amount of financial support
    • A letter requesting reinstatement to F-1 student status which explains your situation
    • Supporting documentation
    • Current transcript and transcripts from other U.S. schools previously attended
    • Photocopy of passport identification and visa pages; do not send your passport

    Keep a copy of your entire application for your records. If you choose the paper application option, it is recommended that you send your application by certified mail, return receipt requested.


    Mailing Address For FedEx, UPS, DHL deliveries:
    USCIS USCIS
    P.O. Box 660166 ATTN: I-539
    Dallas, TX 75266 2501 S. State Highway 121 Business Suite 400
      Lewisville, TX 75067

    Option 2

    Travel and Reentry

    In some cases it may be advisable to depart the U.S. and re-enter with a new I-20, rather than applying for reinstatement. You may do this by obtaining a new I-20 from the school you are currently attending or wish to attend, then departing the U.S. to apply for a new F-1 visa .


    To request a new I-20 for travel and reentry:

    1. Schedule an appointment with your DSO to discuss your options to regain F-1 status. At the appointment the DSO will review your situation and discuss the travel & reentry process in detail.
    2. The DSO will create and sign a new I-20 for your travel & reentry.

    University of Maryland Eastern Shore( UMES) DSOs:

    Denitta Gladding, PDSO Angela Young, DSO
    Office of Admissions and Recruitment School of Graduate Studies
    Student Development Center Engineering & Aviation Science Complex
    Suite 1140 Suite 3046, Room 3050
    Princess Anne, Maryland 21853 Princess Anne, Maryland 21853