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UC San Diego students who are currently out of status may apply for reinstatement to F-1 or J-1 visa status. If you are eligible for reinstatement, the International Services & Engagement Office (ISEO) is here help you with this process. Review all steps below to understand how to start this process, and how it may affect your status.


Reinstatement Steps for F-1 Students:


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

  • Step 1: Meet with an international student advisor at ISEO to confirm your eligibility for reinstatement.
  • Step 2: Request Reinstatement I-20 in iPortal.
  • Step 3: Gather documents required to apply for reinstatement.
  • Step 4: Submit your application to US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
  • Step 5: Wait for USCIS to approved your Reinstatement Application
  • Step 6: Obtain a decision from USCIS regarding your reinstatement application (this may take anywhere from 4 - 10 months).

Step 1: Confirm Eligibility

You may be eligible for reinstatement only if you:

  • Are currently enrolled or intend to enroll for a full-time course load.
    • If you have been suspended or academically disqualified, you are not eligible for reinstatement until you are eligible to enroll again at UCSD. 
  • 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.
    • Students who have been out of status for more than 5 months may still be eligible to file for reinstatement but will need to provide sufficient reason for delayed filing. 
  • Can document sufficient financial resources to pursue a full-time course load.
  • Do not have a history of repeated status violations.
  • Are not deportable from the U.S. on any other grounds.
  • Are currently located in the U.S.

If you meet these criteria, please contact ISEO to meet with an international student advisor to discuss your eligibility for F-1 Reinstatement.

Step 2: Request Your Reinstatement I-20

Request your Reinstatement I-20

  • Log in to .
  • Go to " Services" tab.
  • Select " Reinstatement I-20 Request".
  • Complete your request.
  • Choose your "Document Delivery Preference".
  • Upload a PDF copy of your bank statement(s) or financial support letter(s) to show funding for the first 12 months of your studies.
  • Upload a PDF copy of your passport bio page.
  • Upload a PDF copy of your most recent I-94.
    • Retrieve an electronic I-94 here: Get Most Recent I-94.
    • If you have a paper I-94, submit both front and back pages.
  • "Submit" your request.

Receive your New Reinstatement I-20

  • Your new reinstatement I-20 will be issued within 10 business days.
  • You can check the status of your request anytime by logging in to iPortal and clicking on " My Requests" tab.
  • A notification email will be sent to you when your document is ready.
  • Sign your new I-20 when you receive it, and keep your previous I-20 for your records, do NOT throw it away.
  • Within 30 days of receiving your new reinstatement I-20, you must submit your Reinstatement application to USCIS.

Step 3: Prepare Required Documents

After requesting your reinstatement I-20 gather the following required materials listed below:

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

  • Copy of your signed reinstatement I-20.
  • Original personal statement (typed not handwritten) from student.
    This statement must include:
    • Chronological account of student’s history of education in the U.S. 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 in the United States that you have attended.
      NOTE: Unofficial transcripts will not be accepted.
  • Financial statement from student or sponsor or sponsorship letter from UC San Diego 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.

Step 4: Submit Your Reinstatement Application to USCIS

  • You can find the current filing fee for Form I-539 by visiting USCIS' Fee Schedule page.
  • Students are able to file for F-1 Reinstatement with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) by creating a USCIS Online Account and submitting the Form I-539 electronically, uploading electronic copies of applicable documents, and paying fees online.
  • ISEO is unable to assist with completion or submission of the Form I-539. Students who require assistance with filing Form I-539 to USCIS should consult with an immigration attorney
  • Students are responsible for a complete and timely submission of their F-1 Reinstatement Application with USCIS. Failure to submit a complete and timely application may result in a denial or a request for additional information by USCIS. 
  • Within 30 days of receiving your new reinstatement I-20, you must submit your Reinstatement application to USCIS.

Receive an I-797 Receipt Notice from USCIS

  • After filing Form I-539 online, a receipt number will be generated. Please share this receipt number with ISEO
  • In addition, a physical I-797 Receipt Notice confirming submission of your form I-539 to USCIS will be physically mailed to the mailing address indicated within your application. 

Step 5: Wait for USCIS to Review your Reinstatement Application

While Waiting for Reinstatement Approval

USCIS processing times for I-539 Reinstatement of F-1 Status Applications may vary. On average, applications may take 4 - 10 months to be adjudicated. Check the USCIS Website for up to date processing times. 

Expedite requests are reviewed by USCIS on a case-by-case basis and the applicant must meet strict expedite criteria. Review the USCIS policy manual for more information on expedite criteria.

While pending reinstatement,

  • Travel: It is not in your best interest to travel during this period. Travel outside the U.S. while a reinstatement application is pending may be considered an abandonment of the application. If you need to leave the U.S. while your application is pending, you must meet with an international student advisor prior to travel.
  • Funding/Employment: Students who do not have F-1 Status are not eligible for employment benefits under the F-1 non-immigrant category. This includes any on-campus employment or off-campus employment. 
  • Changes to Enrollment: If you are unable to continue full-time enrollment, you must meet with an international student advisor prior to dropping below full-time enrollment. 
  • Requests for Evidence: If you receive a Request for Evidence (RFE) or Request for Information (RFI) from USCIS, please contact ISEO immediately so we can assist you. 


Schedule a Biometric Services Appointment (if Required)

USCIS may require that you appear for an interview or provide biometrics (fingerprints, photograph, and/or signature) at any time to verify your identity, obtain additional information, and conduct
background and security checks, including a check of criminal history records maintained by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), before making a decision on your application or petition. After USCIS receives your application and ensures it is complete, USCIS will inform you if you need to attend a biometric services appointment. 

If an appointment is necessary, the notice will provide you the location of your local or designated USCIS Application Support Center (ASC) and the date and time of your appointment. If you are required to provide biometrics, at your appointment you must sign an oath reaffirming that:

  1. You provided or authorized all information in the application;
  2. You reviewed and understood all of the information contained in, and submitted with, your application; and
  3. All of this information was complete, true, and correct at the time of filing.
    If you fail to attend your biometric services appointment, USCIS may deny your application.

We recommend that you review your copy of your completed I-539 reinstatement application before you go to your biometric services appointment at a USCIS ASC. At your appointment, USCIS will permit you to complete the application process only if you are able to confirm, under penalty of perjury, that all of the information in your application is complete, true, and correct. If you are not able to make that attestation in good faith at that time, USCIS will require you to return for another appointment.

Step 6: Obtain a Decision From USCIS Regarding Your Reinstatement Application

Reinstatement Approved: Request an Updated I-20

  • USCIS processing times for I-539 Reinstatement of F-1 Status Applications may vary. On average, applications may take 4 - 10 months to be adjudicated. Check the USCIS Website for up to date processing times. 
  • Once your reinstatement application is approved, you will receive an I-797 Approval Notice from USCIS. 
  • Request an updated I-20 reflecting your reinstated visa status by following instructions here.

Reinstatement Denied: Contact ISEO to Discuss Next Steps

  • Reinstatement applications are taking approximately 4 - 10 months to be adjudicated. If your application is denied by USCIS, please contact ISEO to discuss your next steps.


Reinstatement Steps for J-1 Students:


Contact ISPO to discuss your options with an International Student Advisor.