Regaining status by filing a reinstatement application with the US Immigration Service:

Reinstatement is an option for an F-1 student who fails to maintain status and wishes to regain status without leaving the U.S. It allows the opportunity to regain valid F-1 status and have the mistakes you made corrected by USCIS. It is in your best interest to file the petition for reinstatement immediately after the violation and within 5 months of termination. LSU will support your Reinstatement application only if you are academically eligible to continue studying at LSU. Depending on the circumstances of the individual's case, reinstatement may or may not be the best option.

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;
  • You have not been out of status for more than 5 months. Unless you can show exceptional circumstances beyond your control, such as: Serious injury or illness, natural disaster, closure of your school, etc.;
  • Can document sufficient financial resources to cover your estimated expenses for at least one academic year;
  • You do not have a history of repeated or willful violations; and
  • You are not deportable from the US on any other grounds.

The following documents must be submitted to U.S. Immigration:

  1. Completed and signed Form I-539 (Application to Extend/Change Non-immigrant Status), available at
  2. Processing Fee: US Immigration requires a processing fee of $370. Check or money order should be made payable to US Department of Homeland Security. No cash or temporary checks are accepted.
  3. Financial documentation showing the availability of funds to cover your estimated expenses for at least one academic year. This can be a personal bank statement, an Affidavit of Support form from family/sponsor(s) with supporting financial documents.
  4. Signed Reinstatement I-20
  5. Your letter addressed to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services requesting reinstatement to proper F-1 student status. It should include the following points:
    1. An explanation of the circumstances that led to your violation of status;
    2. How falling out of status was beyond your control And/OR failure to be reinstated will lead to undue hardship;
    3. That you are currently enrolled as a full-time student and/or that you intend to pursue a full course of study for the next semester;
    4. You have not been employed without authorization; and
    5. You have not violated any other immigration regulations
  6. Support letter from LSU: It would be very helpful if your college/departmental advisor can write a letter supporting your case or explaining/verifying your situation:
    1. The circumstances that led to your violation of status;
    2. How falling out of status was beyond your control;
    3. How failure to be reinstated will lead to undue hardship; and
    4. That you are currently enrolled as a full-time student, intend to pursue a full course of study for the next semester and until graduation.
  7. I-94 Arrival/Departure Record
  8. Copies of your current visa stamp, biographical page of your valid passport, and any previous approval notices from USCIS
  9. All I-20s previously issued to you.
  10. Official transcripts from LSU and any other U.S. schools you may have attended
  11. SEVIS fee receipt: Only if you have been "out of status" more than 5 months. Visit the following web sites for information on this procedure: and

If you have dependents in the US, you must also include them in the application since a violation of your F-1 status affects your dependent family members as well.

Meet with an international student adviser to review the above documents before submitting to USCIS.

USCIS processing times are highly variable and approval of a reinstatement of F-1 status can take many months. You should continue to enroll full time at LSU while the application is pending. You will not, however, be eligible for any type of employment, recertification of your I-20 for re-entry to the US, or any other student benefit until you have been reinstated to lawful status. For information on the status of your case see:

Results of the Reinstatement Application

    • Approved: If your application for Reinstatement is approved, you will receive an “I-797C Approval Notice” in the mail – the only proof that you have been reinstated. Bring the notice and meet with an adviser so that we can properly update your record. At that time, the adviser will issue a “Continued Attendance” I-20.
    • Denied: If your application for Reinstatement is denied, you will probably be given a date of voluntary departure by which to leave the United States (usually within 30 days of notification). Although there is no formal appeal from a denial, you may seek reconsideration through a motion.

Consequences of a Reinstatement denial

    • The visa that you used to enter the United States is automatically cancelled;
    • You are permanently limited to applying for non-immigrant 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.

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.