A student who has fallen out of status may have the option to apply for reinstatement through USCIS OR qualify for a new I-20 to depart and re-enter the U.S. in valid status.

Under the USCIS code of federal regulations; 8 CFR 214.2(f)(16), an F-1 student is only eligible for reinstatement if all of the following conditions apply to the applicant:

  • Have not been out of status for more than 5 months or demonstrate that the failure to file within the 5-month period was the result of exceptional circumstances.
  • Have not engaged in unauthorized employment, and
  • Are not deportable on any grounds.
  • Are currently pursuing, or intending to pursue, a full course of study in the immediate future at the school which issued your Form I-20.
  • Does not have a record of repeated or willful violations of USCIS regulations.
  • Establishes to the satisfaction of USCIS in detail showing that:

The violation of status resulted from circumstances beyond your 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 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 the DSO's power to authorize and the failure to approve reinstatement would result in extreme hardship to the student.

The International Programs Office at CPCC will only be able to provide the necessary reinstatement documents if all of the above conditions are met.

    The sole decision to reinstate an individual to F-1 status is at the discretion of USCIS. Individuals out of status for 5 months or more are advised to consult with an attorney to assist with reinstatement.

    Procedure to apply for Reinstatement

    Step 1 - Meet with the International Programs and Services office to assess your eligibility for reinstatement and discuss options.

    Step 2 - Complete the Reinstatement/Re-Entry Request Form and required documents as well as a letter addressed to USCIS that details the circumstances that led to you falling out of status. The letter should include:

    • The reason for having fallen out of status. Specify the violation including the relevant dates.Specify how the violation was out of your control. Include a detailed explanation of the events that led to your failure to maintain status; the date you realized you were no longer in F-1 status, when you contacted the International Office to resolve the issue, etc.

    Step 3 - Complete the paper I-539 form. Please note that you must pay the applicable fees to USCIS. When using the paper I-539 application, be sure to follow the instructions carefully and mail to the correct address.