All students considering reinstatement must review this information carefully and meet with an international adviser prior to applying. Processing time is 2-6 months. USCIS official may mail a Request for Further Evidence to your U.S. address if they require any additional information. Contact OGI immediately if you receive any notices.

You are considered to be in lawful status in the U.S. while your application is being processed. You are required to continue to study, but you are not eligible to work on or off campus. If you depart the U.S. while your application is pending, USCIS will consider that you abandoned your petition.If your request for reinstatement be denied you will have to depart the U.S. immediately.

Additionally, due to the reinstatement denial there is an official record of a violation of status in your record.  Status violations can have future impact on eligibility for immigration benefits such as adjustment of status.


  • You must be pursuing, or intend to pursue, a full course of study.
  • Have always had proper authorization while being employed.
  • Can establish that the violation of status resulted from circumstances beyond your control, or that failure to be reinstated would result in extreme hardship.
  • Are not deportable on any other grounds.

How to apply:

Step 1: Request a reinstatement I-20 from OGI. Submit the following documents:

  1. Reinstatement request form
  2. Financial Statement and proof of sufficient funding.
  3. Letter from the student to USCIS explaining the circumstances of their violation and the reasons to be reinstated.

Step 2: After your new I-20 has been issued and picked up, submit a complete application to USCIS:

  1. Form I-539 : Part 2 item 1 of the Form I-539 must indicate that you are applying for reinstatement. Form I-539 has a "Reinstatement to student status" checkbox at item 1.c. for this purpose. The word "REINSTATEMENT" should be written at the top of the form to further distinguish it from other uses of Form I-539.
  2. Filing fee. Check or money order made out to "U.S. Department of Homeland Security".
  3. Copy of new reinstatement form I-20: don’t forget to sign it. Send a copy of the form and keep the original.
  4. A letter from you explaining the situation and requesting a reinstatement (see details below).
  5. Copy of the new financial support documents that supported issuance of the reinstatement Form I-20.
  6. Form I-94:
  7. Proof of enrollment in a full course of study and your most recent transcript.
  8. Copy of the biographical and visa pages of your passport.
  9. Any other documentation that might help establish the nature of the violation, to document that the violation occurred less than 5 months ago, or to justify why it should be accepted even if the violation occurred more than 5 months ago, and that you are pursuing or intending to pursue a full course of study.
  10. If you have been out of status for more than 5 months you are required to submit proof of payment of the SEVIS I-901 fee.

Your letter to USCIS

Your letter to USCIS is very important to this application; this is your chance to explain to the government why you violated your status. This information is meant to serve as guide; you may or may not use these suggestions to write your letter.

The letter should establish convincingly that the violation resulted from circumstances beyond your control or relates to a reduction in course load that would have been within the international student adviser’s power to authorize. If related to a failure to obtain a reduced course load authorization, the letter will also have to establish the nature of the extreme hardship the student would face if reinstatement were not granted.

Your letter does not need to be long or complicated; it can be divided into 3 main paragraphs:

Paragraph 1: Explain if the violation of status was due to a situation beyond your control, or that your international adviser would have granted you a reduced course load.

Paragraph 2: Plea your case! Explain why your deserve reinstatement to F-1 status.

Paragraph 3: Explain what would happen if you don’t get reinstated.

Mailing Instructions to USCIS

For Express mail and courier deliveries (DHL, FedEx or UPS):
Attn: I-539
2501 S. State Hwy. 121 Business
Suite 400
Lewisville, TX 75067

For U.S. Postal Service (USPS):

PO Box 660166
Dallas, TX 75266

OGI recommends that students make a photocopy of all documents in their application package prior to shipment, and send the application with a tracking number or delivery confirmation requested.