Reinstatement to F-1 Student Status

Students who are currently out-of-status may apply for reinstatement to F-1 student status.

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

Students who are eligible to apply for reinstatement to F-1 status, must do the following:

  • Step 1: Gather documents required to apply for reinstatement
  • Step 2: Meet with an international student advisor at the International Students & Programs Office to review your reinstatement application package
  • Step 3: Mail your application to US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) 
  • Step 4: Receive an I-797 Receipt Notice from USCIS within 7 - 10 business days of submitting your application
  • Step 5: Obtain a decision from USCIS regarding your reinstatement appilcation within 90 days of submitting your application

Document Requirements

Before starting the Reinstatement Process, please gather the following materials listed below.

Be sure to keep a copy of all of your documents.

  • I-20 Request Form
  • Fee of US $370. Fee can be paid by:
    • personal check, cashier’s check or money order made payable to "US Department of Homeland Security".
    • credit card using Form G-1450 .
  • Completed original Form I-539 (available at
  • Original personal statement (typed not handwritten) from student
    This statement must include:
    • Chronological account of student’s history of education in the United States including every school ever attended with all dates of attendance, and detailing every time the student was previously out of status and why and the number of times the student was reinstated in the past.
    • Full explanation of why the student is currently out of status and why being out of status was beyond the student’s control.
  • Official transcripts
    • One set of official transcripts from all schools attended in sealed envelope/s.
      NOTE: Unofficial transcripts will not be accepted.
  • Original financial statement from student or sponsor OR sponsorship letter from UCSD academic department
  • Copy of visa stamp page in passport
  • Copy of biographical information page in passport
  • Passport page must include expiration date
  • Copy of I-94 form
  • Copies of all Form I-20s issued to student from all schools attended

Meet with an International Student Advisor

After gathering all items listed above, please contact the International Students & Programs Office at 858-534-3730 to schedule an appointment with an International Student Advisor to review your documents. During your appointment, the advisor will review your documents. Within 10 business days, you will be asked to pick up the following:

  • Reinstatement Form I-20
  • Support letter from International Students & Programs Office

Pending Approval

Mail your original copy of the reinstatement application package to the USCIS Dallas Lockbox facility. Within 30 days of submitting your application to the USCIS Dallas Lockbox facility, you will receive an I-797 Receipt Notice. Bring the original receipt to the International Students & Programs Office so we can make a copy for your file. Please keep the receipt in a safe place. If you receive a Request for Evidence (blue letter), please contact the International Students & Programs Office immediately so we can assist you.
It is not in your best interest to travel during this period. You may encounter problems reentering the USA. Travel outside the US while a reinstatement application is pending may be considered an abandonment of the application. If you need to leave the US while your application is pending, you must meet with an international student advisor prior to travel.

Approval of Reinstatement

Applications are adjudicated within 90 days of submission. Once approved, you will receive an Approval Notice and your original I-20. Bring these original documents to the International Center so we can make copies for your file and reactivate your SEVIS record.