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F-1 Reinstatment

If you have failed to maintain F-1 student status and wish to continue studying at (or transfer to) St. John’s University, you must regain valid status.
There are two ways you can be reinstated:
  1. Apply to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for reinstatement. 
  2. Leave the U.S. and reenter using a new I-20 with a new SEVIS number. 
Either option should be discussed with an advisor at ISSSO in detail.  Those planning to transfer to another institution must apply for reinstatement through the new school using the I-20 from that school.
Reasons why a student may fall out of F-1 student status include:
  • Failure to extend I-20 before the expiration deadline
  • Failure to complete the F-1 transfer procedure in a timely manner
  • Failure to take less than a full course of study without prior written authorization from ISSSO for an excusable academic or medical reason under F-1 regulations
  • Taking too many online courses (even though you may be completing a full course of study)
  • A student who has worked without authorization is also out of status, but is not eligible for reinstatement 
If you think you may be out of status, please schedule an appointment with an advisor as soon as possible.
The longer you wait to address the problem, the more difficult it can become to fix. Furthermore, only students in valid F-1 status are eligible for F-1 benefits from the USCIS (e.g. on-campus employment or OPT authorization).

Under federal USCIS regulation 8 CFR 214.2(f)(16), an F-1 student is only eligible for reinstatement if all of the following conditions apply:
  • You have not been out of status for more than 5 months at the time of filing the request for reinstatement OR the failure to file within the 5-month period was the result of exceptional circumstances and that you filed the request for reinstatement as promptly as possible under these exceptional circumstances
  • You do not have a record of repeated or willful violations of (USCIS) regulations
  • You are currently pursuing, or intending to pursue, a full course of study in the immediate future at the school which issued the Form I-20
  • You have not engaged in unauthorized employment
  • You are not deportable on any ground other than section 237(a)(1)(B) or (C)(i) of the Act
  • You establish, to the satisfaction of the (USCIS), in detail showing, either that:
    • The violation of status resulted from circumstances beyond the student’s control.
    • Such circumstances might include: serious injury or illness, closure of the institution, natural disaster, or inadvertence, oversight, or neglect on the part of the DSO,
    • But do not include instances where a pattern of violations or where a willful failure on the part of the student resulted in the need for reinstatement OR the violation relates to a reduction in the student’s course load that would have been within a DSO’s power to authorize, and that failure to approve reinstatement would result in extreme hardship to the student
ISSSO will assist you with a reinstatement petition only if all of the conditions above apply. If you do not meet the above eligibility requirements you will need to consult a US immigration attorney.