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International Students

Reinstatement of F-1 Status

An F-1 student may lose their legal status in a number of ways including:

  1. Failure to notify the Immigration Service when transferring from one school to another.
  2. Not maintaining a full-time course load.
  3. Staying in the U.S. longer than the authorized time limit for academic program completion.


In order to apply for reinstatement to F-1 status, ALL of the following conditions must be met:

  1. The student has not been out of status for more than 5 months prior to filing for reinstatement unless he or she can show that there were exceptional circumstances that prevented the student from filing during the 5-month period and that he or she filed the request for reinstatement as soon as possible given those exceptional circumstances.
  2. The student is currently pursuing, or intends to pursue a full course of study at the school that issued the Form I-20;
  3. The student has NOT engaged in unauthorized employment;
  4. The student is not deportable on any other grounds.
  5. The student does not have a record of repeated violations.


To apply for reinstatement to F-1 status, you must assemble a complete packet of information to accompany Form I-539 for the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) in this order:

  1. Attach amount of the fee required for Form I-539 paid to the order of "Department of Homeland Security" (money orders, personal checks, and cashier checks are accepted).
  2. Completed Form I-539 signed by the student. The form can be downloaded at Note: On Part 2, Question #1 Box "c", write "Reinstatement of Student Status" and write "Reinstatement" in red in the upper right corner of the form.
  3. New SEVIS I-20 signed by DSO and student (No copies). Reason for issuance of I-20, "Reinstatement Requested". 
  4. Original Form I-94 attached to Form I-20 (No copies).
  5. Dependent(s) I-20, if applicable, signed by the DSO (No copies).
  6. Dependent(s) Form I-94, if applicable, attached to the dependent(s) Form I-20's (No copies).
  7. Clear, complete, written explanation by the student to the USCIS explaining the circumstances surrounding failure to maintain legal status (Mandatory).
  8. Statement by the DSO, if desired, in support of the reinstatement.
  9. Copy of identity page of the student's passport.


In addition, the student must provide the DSO with financial documentation (not more than 6 months old). One of the following or a combination of:

  • original bank statement
  • original bank letter
  • letter and bank statement from sponsor


All Form I-539's for reinstatement of student status are to be mailed to USCIS California Service Center, P.O. Box 10539, Laguna Niguel, CA 92607-1053. The outside of the envelope should indicate "Original Submission I-539 Reinstatement" to the left of the address.

It is very important to make photocopies of your application and all supporting documentation for your own personal record and for our files. It may take 30 - 60 days to receive a response from the USCIS. Upon receiving your response, please come to Counseling/Advising and Career Services in D-102 so that we can photocopy the letter for your file. Your I-20 and I-94 will be returned to you indicating the response from USCIS.

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