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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 Students & Programs Office (ISPO) 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 ISPO.
  • Step 2: Request Reinstatement I-20 in iPortal.
  • Step 3: Gather documents required to apply for reinstatement.
  • Step 4: Mail your application to US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
  • Step 5: Receive an I-797 Receipt Notice from USCIS within 7-10 business days of submitting your application.
  • Step 6: Obtain a decision from USCIS regarding your reinstatement application (this may take 12-14 months).

Confirm Eligibility

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 U.S. on any other grounds.

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 I-20 and a Support Letter

  • Your new reinstatement I-20 and a support letter 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.

Prepare Required Documents

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

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

  • Copy of your reinstatement I-20.
  • I-539 Filing Fee of $370 USD*.
    • *UPDATE AS OF September 29, 2020: USCIS Fee Increase Enjoined (prohibited) as of September 29, 2020. This means all filing fees and procedural changes which were due to take effect on Friday, October 2, 2020 are suspended until further notice. USCIS fees for the I-539 remain at $370 until further notice. Biometric Services Fee remains at $85 until further notice. 
    • Personal check, cashier’s check or money order made payable to "U.S. Department of Homeland Security".
    • Credit card using Form G-1450.
  • Biometric Services Fee of U.S. $85 is required for each individual included on the I-539A. After USCIS receives the I-539 application, USCIS will notify you about when and where to go for biometrics services. 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 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 attended in sealed envelope/s.
      NOTE: Unofficial transcripts will not be accepted.
  • Original 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.

Mail Your Reinstatement Application to USCIS

Application packets sent via the United States Postal Service including USPS Express Mail, Priority Mail, or Certified Mail, should be sent to the USCIS Dallas Lockbox facility:

    Attn: I-539
    P.O. Box 660166
    Dallas, TX 75266-0166

Do not use the P.O. Box address listed above if you are sending your package via express mail/courier services, such as FedEx and UPS. Express mailings require a physical street address. Send your package via FedEx or UPS to:

    Attn: I-539 (Box 660166)
    2501 S. State Highway 121 Business
    Suite 400
    Lewisville, TX 75067-8003

Go to a Biometric Services Appointment (if Required)

Note: Due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, USCIS has experienced delays in scheduling or rescheduling application support center (ASC) appointments to collect biometrics. Before visiting any USCIS facility, check the USCIS Office Closings webpage for the current operating status. 

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 in writing (received through regular mail) 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 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.

Learn What Happens Next

Within 30 days of submitting your application to the USCIS Dallas Lockbox facility, you will receive an I-797 Receipt Notice. Submit the original receipt to ISPO 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 ISPO immediately so we can assist you.
It is not in your best interest to travel during this period. You may encounter problems reentering the U.S. 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.

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.

Request an Updated I-20 when Your Reinstatement is Approved

  • Reinstatement applications are taking approximately 12-14 months to be adjudicated. Once approved, you will receive an I-797 Approval Notice and your original I-20.
  • Request an updated I-20 reflecting your reinstated visa status by following instructions here.


Reinstatement Steps for J-1 Students:


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