Regaining your Status

For students who have failed to maintain their F-1 student status, there are two possible ways to regain F-1 student status:

1. Remaining in the U.S. and applying to the USCIS for reinstatement: This option is only available for those who have been out of status for less than 5 months and has not engaged in unauthorized employment. 

Below are the steps students must take in order to apply for reinstatement in the U.S.:

A. Gather the following items and make an appointment with an international student adviser to review your application materials and to answer your questions:

  1. General Academic Information Form completed by undergraduate dean or graduate program director.
  2. Certification of Funds completed by you and your financial sponsor, if applicable.
  3. A $370 check or money order made payable to U.S. Department of Homeland Security
  4. Form I-539 
  5. A letter requesting reinstatement of F-1 status, written to the USCIS adjudication officer, in which you explain why you fell out of status (please see sample letter under “Additional Information”
  6. Original financial documents no older than 3 months
  7. Photocopies of all of your immigration documents 
    1. I-20s
    2. Passport biographical pages
    3. Visa stamp
    4. I-94
  8. If applicable, photocopies of all immigration documents of any visa dependents who will be requesting reinstatement with you
  9. If applicable, evidence that you have purchased the required health insurance for any visa dependents who will be requesting reinstatement with you
  10. Rutgers transcript

B. An international student adviser will issue you a new I-20 after reviewing your documents. 

C. Pick up the new I-20 and assemble your application package (items iii to x above) for submission to the USCIS. 

 

2. Traveling outside the U.S.:

To regain F-1 status via travel, students must obtain an “initial attendance” I-20 from Rutgers Global- ISSS. With the I-20, students need to travel outside the U.S. If you have been out of status for over five months, you must apply for a new F-1 visa.

To receive a new I-20, please provide to us the following: 

Each way has advantages and disadvantages; we advise you to set up an appointment with one of our advisers to discuss options as they relate to your individual situation. Please note that while we are happy to assist with your paperwork, we also encourage you to consult with a qualified immigration attorney. Ultimately, the decision to regain your status is up to the U.S. Department of State or the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

Note: Students who are out of status are prohibited from working and may not accept or continue any employment. Students who are currently employed (this includes assistantships and teaching) must discontinue employment immediately.

 

Additional Information


Sample Letter

Date:

USCIS Officer

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services 

Dear Sir/Madam:

(Request reinstatement and describe what happened.) Please accept my application for reinstatement to F-1 status. Recently I have become aware that (Choose one from the examples if it covers your case or write your own explanation.) I have failed to process my transfer from (name of previous school)/ I have failed to extend my stay before my I-20 expired. (Explain why this happened.) This was due to (Choose one example or rewrite.) oversight on my part/ my misunderstanding of the F-1 regulations. (Add your specific reasons.) 

(Cite your good points.) I feel fortunate to be able to study in the United States. I have always attended school as a full time student and have not engaged in unauthorized employment. 

(Promise that this will not happen again and reiterate your request.) I am determined to be more careful from now on in order to make sure that I'll fully abide by the regulations. I sincerely hope that I can be reinstated to F-1 status and be allowed to complete my studies. 

Thank you for your consideration. 

Sincerely, 

(Sign your name)