Office of International Affairs International Student & Scholar Services

F-1 Reinstatement to Status

An F-1 student who has failed to properly maintain F-1 status (termed being “out-of-status”) can be returned to F-1 status by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) under certain circumstances through the “reinstatement” process.  A student who is out-of-status must discuss the situation with an International Student Counselor.  Based on the facts of the individual situation, the student and counselor must determine whether the student will be best served by applying to DHS for reinstatement or by exit from the U.S. and re-entry on a new F-1 program.   In either case, the student will need a new I-20 issued by the International Student Counselor.  A student who suspects that he or she is out-of-status should contact an International Student Counselor at 742-3667 immediately.

To be eligible for reinstatement a student must be enrolled or intending to enroll as a full-time student, must not have worked without employment authorization, must not have been out of status for five months or more, and must be able to show conclusively that the violation of status resulted from circumstances beyond the student’s control.  In certain cases, an applicant may be required to pay the SEVIS fee.  Applications for reinstatement at Texas Tech are processed by the Vermont Service Center of USCIS.  The process can take several months.  While the application is pending, the student does not have benefits of F-1 status including employment authorization.        

Application process:
1) Obtain a new form I-20 from an International Student Counselor.
2) Provide proof of financial support for at least one academic year.
3) Provide the original form I-94.
4) Provide evidence of current full-time enrollment and transcripts.
5) Provide evidence of payment of the SEVIS fee, if required.
6) Complete form I-539 (available on the DHS web page) The International Student Counselor will mark the form for “reinstatement.”  The address in Part 1 should be “Office of International Affairs, Box 45004 Texas Tech, Lubbock, TX 79409-5004.”  Part 2, item 1 should be marked for “reinstatement to F-1 status.”
7) Provide a check or money order for $290 payable to “Department of Homeland Security.”
8) Write a letter of explanation addressed to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services stating why you are out-of-status, that the circumstances were beyond your control, the period of time that you have been out of status, the reason for the violation, the effect that failure to receive reinstatement may have on you, that you have not worked without authorization, that you intend to pursue full-time student status, and specifically requesting reinstatement to F-1 student status.

Revised: 11/2011

Texas Tech University Office of International Affairs, ISSS, MS 5004, 742-3667, fax 742-1286