Regaining F-1 Status

If you fail to maintain your status, you are ineligible for any F-1 benefits. There are two ways you can regain your status.


When requesting reinstatement, you must establish to the satisfaction of United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) that you:

  • Have not been out of status more than five months at the time of filing the request for reinstatement (or explain why the reinstatement application could not be filed sooner).
  • Do not have a record of repeated or willful violations of immigration regulations.
  • Are currently pursuing, or intending to pursue, a full course of study in the immediate future at Minnesota State University, Mankato.
  • Have not engaged in unauthorized employment.
  • Are not deportable on any ground other than overstaying or failing to maintain F-1 status.

You must also establish that:

  • The violation of status resulted from circumstances beyond your control. Such circumstances might include serious injury or illness, a natural disaster, or inadvertence, oversight, or neglect on the part of the Kearney Center, but do not include instances where a pattern of repeated 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 your course load that would have been within the Kearney International Center’s power to authorize, and that failure to approve reinstatement would result in extreme hardship to you.

If USCIS approves the reinstatement request, the adjudicating officer will endorse your I-20 to indicate that you have been reinstated and will return the I-20 to you. If USCIS does not approve the reinstatement request, you may not appeal the decision and need to prepare to leave the US immediately.

Travel and Reentry

In some cases, it may be advisable to depart the US and re-enter with a new I-20 rather than apply for reinstatement. You may do this by obtaining a new I-20 from the Kearney Center, departing the US, applying for a new F-1 visa if your current visa has expired, and returning to the US. You are not eligible for automatic visa revalidation. Re-entry to the US after a status violation is viewed by Immigration as “initial attendance” in F-1 status. As such, you are bound by restrictions placed on new students, such as the academic year waiting period for eligibility for practical training and off-campus employment authorization.

Next steps for Reinstatement to F-1 status:

  • Meet with your immigration advisor in the Kearney Center to discuss your options to regain F-1 status. If you are eligible to apply for reinstatement, gather the following documents/items for your application:
  • Form G-1145
  • Form I-539 (write “REINSTATEMENT” at the top of the form)
  • Check/money order made payable to U.S. Department of Homeland Security for USCIS filing fee
  • Photocopies of all previously-issued I-20s
  • Copy of valid passport page
  • Copy of visa
  • Copy of I-94 record
  • Photocopy of new Reinstatement I-20 signed by Kearney Center immigration advisor
  • Evidence and source of amount of financial support
  • A letter written by you, requesting reinstatement to F-1 student status which explains your situation and truthfully states that failure to maintain status was due to any or all of the reasons listed above
  • Supporting documentation (for example a letter of support from a faculty advisor familiar with your case)
  • Current transcript and transcripts from other U.S. schools previously attended

Meet with your immigration advisor in the Kearney Center to review the items listed above and prepare your documents for mailing.

Next steps for Travel and Reentry

Meet with your immigration advisor in the Kearney Center to discuss your options to regain F-1 status. If you decide to travel and re-enter the U.S., provide a copy of your itinerary showing your departure from the U.S., provide updated bank documents, and request your new initial I-20. You must pay the I-901 fee on your new I-20.