When does a student lose F-1 status?
When he or she:
- Has overstayed the authorized period of stay in the U.S. plus any applicable grace period. The authorized period of stay ends immediately upon EITHER completion, termination, interruption, or graduation from a course of study OR the expiration date on the Form I-20, section 5, whichever happens first, or
- Fails to register as a full-time student at the school which issued the Form I-20, or
- Does not complete the immigration transfer procedure if transferring from one U.S. school to another within 15 days of the start date on Form I-20, or
- Enters the U.S. using the Form I-20 from one school and attends another school without following the necessary immigration procedures to facilitate this change, or
- Works without permission or more than the allowed number of hours
What are the consequences of failure to maintain F-1 status?
The following privileges are not available to students who are out of status:
- On or off-campus work permission including graduate assistantships
- Curricular or optional practical training
- School transfer
- Change of visa status
Ultimately, the student may be subject to deportation from the U.S.
How may a student be reinstated to F-1 status?
A student may seek reinstatement to F-1 status by submitting an application to USCIS. Application procedures are described in detail below The Office of International Programs will help with this procedure.
Is reinstatement necessary if the student leaves the U.S. and reenters with a new Form I-20?
No. The reinstatement procedure is necessary only if the student wishes to reclaim F-1 student status while remaining in the U.S. If the student reenters the U.S. and the immigration official stamps the Form I-20 and I-94 card indicating F-1, the student is then in legal F-1 status upon registering as a full-time student at the school which issued the Form I-20. However, if a student regains F-1 status through travel and reentry, he or she must maintain status for 9 months before he/she is eligible for curricular or optional practical training or off-campus work permission.
Does "out of status" affect my eligibility to travel outside the U.S. and return?
Yes. Before making travel plans, please visit the Office of International Programs to discuss your plans and to learn what documents you will need to return to the U.S.
Procedures to apply for reinstatement to F-1 student status
Please read these procedures and complete the forms before visiting with the Office of International Programs.
Students who are not in valid F-1 status must apply for reinstatement to regain legal student status. Students must complete Form I-901 and pay a SEVIS fee. The SEVIS fee must be paid before you request reinstatement from USCIS. If the fee is not paid, your application will not be processed by immigration. The SEVIS fee is separate from the reinstatement application fee.
To apply for reinstatement:
- Write a letter requesting reinstatement to student status, including:
- An explanation of failure to maintain student status,
- Plans to pursue a full course of study,
- A statement that failure to receive reinstatement would result in extreme hardship,
- A statement that the student has not been employed without authorization, and
- A statement that the student is not deportable on any other grounds.
- Make an appointment with the Office of International Programs to request a Form I-20.
It takes 1 week for an I-20 to be prepared. Bring to this appointment:
- Completed I-20 Request Form
- Financial documentation that covers tuition, fees and living expenses.
- Print and complete Form I-539.
- Make a second appointment with the Office of International Programs to review the
- Form I-539
- Form I-20
- Financial documentation to cover tuition, fees and living expenses
- Your reinstatement letter
- Your original I-94
- Photocopies of all previous I-20s
- Photocopies of visa page and passport (picture, number, expiration date)
- Cashier check or money order payable to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security
- Your SEVIS fee payment receipt
- Student sends all documents listed in step 4 by certified mail and requests a return receipt to
P.O. Box 661066
Dallas, TX 75266
Once your reinstatement I-20 is entered into SEVIS, you must submit the Form I-539 and supporting documentation within 30 days. Failure to submit reinstatement application within 30 days may result in the reinstatement request being denied in SEVIS.
If USCIS approves the request, the Form I-20 and I-94 card will be endorsed to reflect F-1 status. When you receive the approval from USCIS, make an appointment with the Office of International Programs and bring the Form I-20 and I-94 card with you to that appointment. We will then restore your records to F-1 status.