An F-1 student who has overstayed his/her period of stay or has otherwise failed to maintain F-1 student status may be reinstated to lawful F-1 status at the discretion of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
Reinstatement to lawful F-1 status may be granted to a student if he or she:
- Has not been out of status for more than 5 months at the time of filing the request for reinstatement (or demonstrates that the failure to file within the 5 month period was the result of exceptional circumstances and that he/she filed the request for reinstatement as promptly as possible under these exceptional circumstances;
- Does not have a record of repeated or willful violations of USCIS regulations;
- Is currently pursuing, or intending to pursue, a full course of study in the immediate future at Central Michigan University;
- Has not engaged in unauthorized employment; and
- Is not deportable on any grounds other than what Federal Regulations stipulate in 8 CFR 237(a)(1)(B) or (C)(i); and
- Establishes to the satisfaction of USCIS that:
- The violation of status resulted from circumstances beyond the student's control; or
- The violation relates to a reduction in the student's course load that would have been within an OGE advisor's power to authorize and that failure to approve reinstatement would result in extreme hardship to the student.
Failure to maintain lawful immigration status is a serious issue and any student who finds him/herself out of status should consult with an immigration attorney for advice on options for resuming valid status.
If you have fallen out of valid F-1 status and would like to file for reinstatement, you should first discuss your situation with an OGE advisor if you have not done so already. Once it has been determined that reinstatement is the best course of action for you, you should complete the following:
Letter: This letter will be included with your application to the government. Your letter should be addressed to USCIS (the government agency who will be reviewing and deciding on your request) and should describe the following:
How you failed to maintain F-1 status -- sample reasons could be failure to request an extension before your I-20 end date or an unauthorized drop in full time enrollment. If you are unsure of why you failed to maintain status, please email firstname.lastname@example.org for clarification.
Why you failed to maintain F-1 status -- in addition to describing how you failed to maintain F-1 status, you should also describe
why this happened. In your explanation, do not blame others and do not say that you were unaware of what was required of you; instead, describe how your actions led to this. However, if there were circumstances beyond your control that caused you to fail to maintain F-1 status, you should describe that as well.
If you have been out of status for more than 5 months, a statement describing the delay in applying for reinstatement.
A statement that shows the government that you will make sure not to let this happen again.
Proof of Funding: To be eligible for reinstatement, you must show the government that you can fund at least one year of your program. For the exact funding amount of your program, please email email@example.com or consult prior correspondence you have had with the OGE. For proof of funding, you can submit one or a combination of the following:
- A recent (6 months or newer) bank statement showing the account owner and the account balance
- A recent (1 month or newer) bank letter describing the account owner and the account balance
- A scholarship letter
If you will be using funds from an account that you do not own, a completed sponsor affidavit form (DOWNLOAD NOW
) is also needed with the bank statement/letter.
Once you have these documents, please email them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Once we have reviewed your submission from step 1 and we have determined that we will support your reinstatement request, we will issue you a reinstatement I-20.
You MUST obtain this I-20 from the OGE to proceed with the next step.
Any prior I-20 you might have received from the OGE will not work to complete the next steps.
Once you receive your reinstatement I-20 from the OGE, you can proceed with filing your case with USCIS. To do so:
- Visit the USCIS website for Form I-539. Follow the steps to file the form through the USCIS website. The reason for your request is reinstatement to F-1 status.
- Submit the following documents with your case:
- I-20 generated for reinstatement (received from an OGE advisor; this is a special I-20 for reinstatement);
- Form I-94 (DOWNLOAD HERE)
- Copies of previously issued Form I-20's (if available);
- Verification of funding
- Written letter explaining the situation previously submitted to OGE
- Any additional documents required to support your request for reinstatement
- A filing of $370 plus $85 for biometrics is also required. Payment instructions will be provided at the time of filing.
NOTE FOR F-1 STUDENTS WITH F-2 DEPENDENTS:
If you have F-2 dependents that also require reinstatement to F-2 status, you must also complete Form I-539A for each dependent (downloadable on the
Form I-539 page
). You must also submit an additional biometrics fee of $85 for each dependent. For help determining the complete filing fee, please see the USCIS filing fee calculator
Following submission, your case may take 6 to 12 months or longer to process.
Reinstatement requests may take 6 to 12 months or longer to process. There is no way to expedite this request.
While you wait for your case to process, there are important obligations you must follow:
You must continue to maintain F-1 status. This means you must continue to enroll full time and make progress toward completion of your program. You must also
report address changes to the Office of Global Engagement within 10 days of the change. Failure to maintain F-1 status could result in denial of your case.
You are not eligible for F-1 benefits until your reinstatement is approved. This means you are ineligible for on-campus employment, graduate assistantship employment, CPT, and OPT. Additionally, reinstatement may complicate or prevent your ability to obtain or renew a driver's license. If you have questions about this, please email email@example.com.
If you leave the United States prior to approval of your reinstatement, your reinstatement application will be considered abandoned. If you have plans to travel before your reinstatement application is approved, please email firstname.lastname@example.org for guidance.
If you complete your program/graduate before your reinstatement is approved, please email email@example.com for guidance. If you plan to return home and voluntarily abandon your reinstatement after program completion, you should withdraw your reinstatement request with USCIS.
You cannot re-enter the United States using your reinstatement I-20. If you have plans to travel and re-enter before your reinstatement application is approved, please email firstname.lastname@example.org for guidance.
- Monitor your email and incoming physical mail for USCIS correspondence. Open and read and correspondence promptly and completely. USCIS may issue a Request for Evidence, which would require you to respond. You will also receive information about your required biometrics appointment (see step 5 below).
If you have any questions, please email email@example.com.
Following submission of your case, USCIS will contact you by mail with your biometrics appointment date, time, and location.
This could be several months after filing. Biometrics appointments take place at the nearest USCIS Application Support Center (ASC). For students living in Mount Pleasant, the nearest USCIS ASC is located in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Additional information on what to bring to the appointment will be provided in the letter.
This is an important step in your case.
Failure to complete the biometrics requirement will result in your case being denied. Please monitor your email inbox as well as any incoming mail at your mailing address for
correspondence from USCIS. Open any correspondence from USCIS promptly. If you have questions about any correspondence you receive from USCIS, please email firstname.lastname@example.org for help.