General Information for Current Students
Reinstatement to F-1 Student Status
A student who has failed to maintain F-1 student status and wishes to continue studying at (or transfer to) CSUB must regain valid status. One way to regain F-1 student status is to apply to US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for reinstatement. Alternatively, students may leave the US and reenter using a new I-20. Either option to regain status should be discussed with an advisor at ISP. (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:
Failure to extend I-20 before the expiration deadline
Failure to complete the F-1 transfer procedure in a timely manner
Failure to take a full course of study without prior written authorization from the ISP for an excusable academic or medical reason under USCIS regulations
Note: A student who has worked without authorization is also out of status, but is not eligible for reinstatement.
If you think that you may be out of status, please visit the office of ISP immediately. The longer you wait to address the problem, the more difficult it can become. Furthermore, only students in valid F-1 status are eligible for F-1 benefits from the USCIS (e.g. authorization to work on-campus, practical training work 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 to the student:
Has 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 the student filed the request for reinstatement as promptly as possible under these exceptional circumstances
Does not have a record of repeated or willful violations of [USCIS] regulations
Is currently pursuing, or intending to pursue, a full course of study in the immediate future at the school which issued the Form I-20
Has not engaged in unauthorized employment
Is not deportable on any ground other than section 237(a)(1)(B) or (C)(i) of the Act
Establishes 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, a 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.
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
ISP will assist students with a reinstatement petition only if all of the conditions above apply.
Students who not meet the above eligibility requirements will need to consult with a US immigration attorney. (If counsel is required, we highly recommend that you seek advice from a lawyer who is a member of the American Immigration Lawyer's Association (AILA). A list of AILA attorneys can be obtained from ISP.)
Procedure for Reinstatement of F-1 Student Status
Meet with an ISP advisor to assess your eligibility for reinstatement.
Prepare the following documents:
1. Letter of Explanation. Write a one-page (no longer) letter that explains in detail the circumstances or reasons which caused you to violate your F-1 student status. Include evidence supporting your case, if possible. Your letter should include the following points:
a) 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 (undergraduates/12 units; graduates/8 units).
b) You have not been employed off campus without authorization.
c) You have not violated any other immigration regulations.
d) Your failure to maintain F-1 student status was due to circumstances beyond your control.
e) Failure to receive reinstatement to student status would result in extreme hardship.
2. Your original I-20 ID and a new I-20 form (for reinstatement purposes). The new I-20 will be issued after your appointment.
3. Copies of all PRIOR Form I-20s from previous schools you were authorized to attend.
4. I-539 Form (available on the ISP web site under “FORMS”) or on the USCIS web site at: http://uscis.gov/graphics/formsfee/forms/files/i-539.pdf. On Part 2, Question #1a, please write "reinstatement to F-1 student status). On Part 3, Question #1, please write "D/S."
5. Official copy of your university transcript at CSUB and official transcripts from any other U.S. schools you may have attended.
6. Original and Current (less then 6 months old) proof of financial support from your sponsor.
7. Your original I-94 Form (the white card in your passport).
8. Photocopy of your passport. Include biographical data page(s), expiration date, and F-1 visa stamp.
9. $200.00 application fee (make your check payable to the USCIS).
10. SEVIS Fee ($100) Payment Receipt (required if you have been "out of status" more than 5 months)
Meet with ISP advisor to review final application for reinstatement
Make copy of entire application for your record and mail to the USCIS District Office in California. Mail your application for reinstatement by Certified Mail, Return Receipt Requested with the US Postal Service or by a courier service that maintains tracking records, such as Federal Express, DHL, or UPS (Do not go in person!)
Note: Be sure to address the envelope with a reference for F-1 Reinstatement.
* The fee can be paid to the DHS by mail or online and must be accompanied by a Form I-901. It can be paid by you or by a third party, inside or outside the US.
To Pay Online
1. Find the Form I-901 at www.FMJfee.com .
2. Complete the form online and supply the necessary Visa, MasterCard or American Express information. *Be sure to write your name exactly as it appears on your I-20 form.
3. Print a copy of the online receipt.
4. Be sure to make copies of your receipt, and keep it with your other important immigration documents
To Pay By Mail
(Please note that it can take a few weeks to pay by mail)
1. Obtain a Form I-901 “Fee Remittance for Certain F, J, and M Nonimmigrant.”
Download the form from www.FMJfee.com . Request the form by phone at 1-800-870-3676 (inside the US)
2. Complete the Form I-901. Be sure to write your name exactly as it appears on your I-20 form.
3. Prepare a check, international money order or foreign draft (drawn on US banks only) in the amount of $100 USD, made payable to “The Department of Homeland Security”
4. Mail the completed I-901 and payment to the address listed on Form I-901).
5. A Form I-797 receipt notice should be mailed within 3 days of processing the fee. Be sure to make copies of your receipt, and keep it with your other important immigration documents.