The reinstatement is an application that will be submitted to USCIS to request them to reinstate your student visa status if you have a terminated SEVIS record. Reinstatements are only filed if you choose to remain in the U.S. to continue your studies with a terminated SEVIS record.
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.
You must also establish that:
- The violation of status resulted from circumstances beyond your control. Such circumstances might include serious injury or illness, a natural disaster, or inadvertence, oversight, or neglect on the part of your ISS adviser, but do not include instances where a pattern of repeated violations or a willful failure on your part resulted in the need for reinstatement.
- The violation relates to a reduction in your course load that would have been within the international student adviser's authority to authorize, and that failure to approve reinstatement would result in extreme hardship to you.
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.
When you are ready to request reinstatement you will need to take the following steps:
1. Prepare the reinstatement application documents
2. Submit the reinstatement documents to our office for review to the online request form.
3. An ISSS advisor will review your application documents and issue you a reinstatement I-20 and a letter to send to USCIS. This process takes 5 to 7 business days. Once your application is reviewed, you will receive an e-mail from the ISSS advisor to inform you of the next steps.
4. You will take a copy of all the reinstatement application documents to keep for yourself and then you file to USCIS. You can file to USCIS online or mail the original reinstatement application documents to USCIS.
5. You will receive a receipt notice and a notice for your biometric services (fingerprinting) appointment from USCIS within about 2 to 4 weeks. You must attend the biometric services appointment at the date and time specified by USCIS. USCIS will take approximately 4 to 12 months to process your application. Once a decision is made regarding your reinstatement, you will receive a letter in the mail from USCIS.
- Form I-539
- When preparing the documents for our office to review please download the pdf version of the I-539 form from the USCIS website instead of clicking the "file online" button.
- Payments for reinstatement fees:
- Fees can be paid in the online form once you file to USCIS after we give you the reinstatement I-20 -OR-
- If you file by mail, you will need 2 checks or money orders made payable to "U.S. Department of Homeland Security". One for the application fee in the amount of $370 and one for the Biometric Services fee in the amount of $85
- SEVIS Fee (I-901) Payment Receipt: You must pay a new SEVIS fee when filing reinstatement. The fee can be paid online at www.fmjfee.com.
- Photocopies of all previously-issued I-20s
- Original I-94 (the white card stapled inside your passport) or I-94 printout obtained at: https://i94.cbp.dhs.gov/I94/#/home
- Photocopy of new Reinstatement I-20 signed by ISS adviser
- Evidence of source and amount of financial support
- A letter requesting reinstatement to F-1 student status which explains your situation and truthfully states that failure to maintain status was due to any or all of the reasons listed above
- Supporting documentation (for example, a letter of support from a faculty adviser familiar with the circumstances of your case)
- Current transcript and transcripts from other U.S. schools previously attended
- Photocopy of passport identification and visa pages; do not send your passport
INA § 222(g) (overstay and visa cancellation) and § 212(a)(9)B) (unlawful presence) are two penalty provisions that can be activated if a request for reinstatement is denied. Since reinstatement by definition consists of a finding by USCIS that there has been a status violation, the denial of a reinstatement application would in all likelihood be considered a "formal finding of a status violation.., resulting in the termination of the period of stay authorized by the Attorney General." Under the most recent guidance on the applicability of INA 222(g) and § 212(a)(9)(B), the reinstatement denial would have the following effects, as of the date of the denial:
The visa that you used to enter the United States is automatically cancelled;
You are permanently limited to applying for nonimmigrant visas in the future only in your country of citizenship or permanent residence;
You will begin accumulating days of "unlawful presence." If you remain in the United States after the denial for over 180 days, you will be barred from returning to the US for three years; if you remain after the denial for one year or more, you will be barred from returning to the US for ten years Please note that whether the application is approved or denied there is an official record of a violation of status in DHS files. Status violations can have future impact on eligibility for immigration benefits such as adjustment of status.