Reinstatement After Violation of F-1 Status


A student who has failed to maintain F-1 student status and who wishes to return Montclair State must apply for and be granted reinstatement to F-1 student status by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). If you violated any of terms of your legal F-1 student status, please consult with OGE immediately.

The following are ways a student might violate their F-1 status:

  • Failing to enroll full time during a fall or spring semester without receiving approval for a reduced course load from the Office of Global Engagement (OGE)
  • Failing to complete the immigration check in and address reporting process at the beginning of your academic program (new students only)
  • Failing to complete change of educational levels within 60 days of completing previous degree program
  • Working more than 20 hours on campus during the fall or spring semester
  • Working off campus without obtaining approval from OGE or USCIS
  • Failing to apply for a program extension before current I-20 expired
  • Failing to leave the U.S. within 60 days of completing degree program (60 days from last day of semester)
  • Failing to complete transfer procedure within the add/drop period of the start of the semester

Consequences of Failing to Maintain Status

Students may accrue unlawful presence and be subject to deportation from the U.S. The Office of Global Engagement recommends that students work with an immigration attorney when filing for reinstatement.
Students who fail to maintain status are ineligible for all benefits of F-1 status, including:

  • On or off-campus work permission
  • Curricular or Optional Practical Training
  • Transferring your SEVIS record to a new school
    • SEVIS transfer is only possible if new school is willing to accept terminated record and prior to submission of reinstatement application
  • Program extension
  • Change of nonimmigrant status

Options Following Violation of F-1 Status

Option 1: Apply for Reinstatement

Reinstatement is an application submitted to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) by a student who has violated their F-1 status to request return to legal student status. A reinstatement application can take approximately five months to be processed by USCIS and students are responsible to pay any associated costs that come with applying. If approved, the student is reinstated and will resume active F-1 status. OGE recommends that any students applying for reinstatement work with an immigration attorney.

Option 2: Travel and Reenter

A student may choose to travel and re-enter the United States. The violation would remain on the previous F-1 record and could affect the ability to obtain a new F-1 visa to return to the U.S. The benefit of this option is that it is the fastest way to reinstate F-1 status. There are several considerations with re-entry:

  • Reentry is limited to 30-day period prior to the reporting date on the new I-20
  • Not eligible for CPT or OPT until enrolled full time at Montclair State University in new F-1 status for one academic year
  • Required to pay the I-901 SEVIS Fee again for new SEVIS record

Eligibility for Reinstatement

  • Violation of F-1 status occurred within the last five months
    • Students who have been out of status for more than 5 months will more than likely need to leave the country and reenter on a new SEVIS record. Students in this situation may file for reinstatement if they can demonstrate that failure to file during the 5 months was a result of “exceptional circumstances.”
  • No record of repeated or willful violation of USCIS regulations
  • Currently pursuing a full course of study
  • Have not engaged in unauthorized employment
  • Evidence that the violation of status resulted from circumstances beyond your control

How to apply for reinstatement from within the U.S.
  • Make an appointment with an OGE advisor.
  • Submit documents to apply for a new reinstatement I-20.
  • Once you have received the new I-20, you will need to complete I-539 form with the filing fee (the check should be made payable to Department of Homeland Security.) Write the word REINSTATEMENT on the top of the form.
  • Gather the following documents:
    • a copy of your most recent online I-94 record
    • a copy of your previous I-20 form
    • evidence of continued funding
    • a written statement requesting reinstatement which explains that the violation of student status resulted from circumstances beyond your control and/or that the failure to be reinstated would result in extreme hardship. Any documentation that supports your claim should be attached.

Mailing Your Application for Reinstatement

Please mail your application to the correct filing address for Form I-539 on the USCIS website.

As with all immigration applications, you should keep copies of all documents submitted. A decision to reinstate an individual to F-1 student status is completely at the discretion of the USCIS. If the application is approved, USCIS will mail a confirmation form with the approval decision. F-2 dependent status is automatically reinstated with the reinstatement of the F-1 student. Please inform OGE of the outcome.

Applying for Reinstatement by Travel
  • Make an appointment with an OGE advisor.
  • Submit documents to apply for a new I-20.
  • Pay the SEVIS I-901 fee for the new SEVIS ID number
  • Travel outside of the U.S. and return on the new initial I-20

Reinstatement and Transfer

Students who plan to transfer should inform the new school that they need to file for reinstatement and ask if the school will accept their SEVIS record in terminated status. If the school is willing to accept the terminated SEVIS record, the student would need to complete the transfer process with OGE prior to applying for reinstatement. OGE will then release the terminated SEVIS record to the institution where the student will be attending.