What is reinstatement?
Filing for reinstatement is a procedure that allows a student to explain to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) the circumstances that caused a violation of F-1 visa regulations and termination of the student’s SEVIS immigration record.
If a student has violated the terms of the F-1 visa, he or she may work with the Office of International Student Services to properly file a reinstatement application if the advisor agrees to support the application.
The advisor will support the application if it is documented that the violation of status was a result of “circumstances beyond the student’s control” and if the student has not previously violated the terms of their F-1 visa.
The advisor is not required to support a case for reinstatement.
If an F-1 student has violated status, all F-1 visa benefits are suspended until reinstatement if approved by USCIS. This includes benefits such as Optional Practical Training and Curricular Practical Training. The advisor will explain in detail how the violation of status will affect a student directly.
According to immigration regulations, a student’s SEVIS immigration record can be transferred to another institution if he or she is violation of F-1 status. If a student wishes to transfer to another institution the student must complete transfer procedure at FDU and then apply for reinstatement at the new institution (see transferring webpage). The student is still considered “out of status” until the reinstatement is approved.
When should I apply for reinstatement to F-1 status?
We strongly recommend that you apply for reinstatement within 5 months of your violation (i.e. the termination date on your SEVIS record.) Waiting more than 5 months to apply will most likely result in a denial of reinstatement to F-1 status.
Is there another option available?
A student may choose to travel and re -enter the United States rather than filing for reinstatement. The advisor will issue a new SEVIS I-20 for the purpose of travel and re-entry. The student will use this I-20 to apply for a new visa, if needed. The new SEVIS fee does apply in this case. The student should discuss with the advisor if a new visa is required. Although travel and re-entry is an option, there is an increased risk involved when traveling on an F-1 visa in this situation.
Do I have to pay the SEVIS fee?
The SEVIS fee, set forth by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, is required of all initial students requesting an F-1 or J-1 visa with an issue date of September 1, 2004 or later. The fee also applies to continuing students in the following situations:
- If you choose travel and re-entry rather than submitting an application for reinstatement, the SEVIS fee is required. The fee must be paid prior to re-entering the US.
- If you are applying for reinstatement and have been out of status for more than 5 months, the SEVIS fee is required. The fee must be paid prior to submitting an application for reinstatement.
- If you are applying for reinstatement and have been out of status for less than 5 months, the SEVIS fee is not required.
Please note, in all cases of reinstatement, the USCIS processing fee of $290 is required.
What do I need to apply for reinstatement?
Review the information and instructions in the Reinstatement packet. Then submit the application and documentation, as stated in the packet, to the Office of International Student Services (ISS). We will look over the application and process the paperwork. Once your paperwork is completed we will create a packet for you to mail to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) via certified return receipt mail. Address and other mailing information will be provided. Download a Reinstatement packet or pick one up in ISS.
When will I get an answer from the USCIS?
The USCIS may take 6 months or more to make a final decision regarding your reinstatement to F-1 status. In the meantime, you should continue to follow F-1 visa guidelines until a decision is made. It is important that you have a copy of the “reinstatement I-20” in your possession.
What if I get a “blue letter” from the USCIS?
A blue letter from the USCIS is notification that something is missing or incorrect on your application, or that the Immigration Officer handling your case would like more information regarding your case. As soon as you receive this letter, it is critical that you notify the Office of International Student Services so we can help you to remedy the problem. Do not delay.
What are the consequences of a reinstatement denial?
- The visa that the student used to enter the United States is automatically cancelled.
- The student is permanently limited to applying for non-immigrant visas in the future only in his or her country of citizenship or permanent residence.
- The student will begin accumulating days of “unlawful presence.” If the student remains in the United States after the denial for over 180 days, he or she will be barred from the United States for three years; if he or she remains after the denial for one year or more, her or she will be barred from the United States for ten years, [I.N.A. 222(g) and 212 (a)(9)(B)