UMD: A Globally Connected University

Reinstatement of Status

International students who have not followed USCIS regulations are considered out of status. They may be able to regain status by one of two methods:

Reinstatement by travel and re-entry
In general, a student may choose to leave the U.S. and then re-enter with a new Initial Attendance I-20/DS-2019. Re-entry with this I-20/DS-2019 will allow the student to re-establish her/his status.

Advantage

  • In some cases it may be much quicker to regain your status this way.

Disadvantage

  • Until the student has maintained status for one academic year from the time of re-entry, the student will not be eligible for off-campus employment.
  • The flight abroad will be an added expense.
  • If your visa has expired you will need to apply for a new student visa.

Reinstatement in the United States
If the student does not wish to travel, then she/he may apply to USCIS for reinstatement to student status.  This option is not available to students who have violated work regulations.

Advantage

  • You may remain in the U.S. and continue your studies while the application is pending.
  • Once your application is approved you will be eligible for work authorization without waiting for one academic year.

Disadvantage

  • The application process can be lengthy and there is no guarantee your application will be approved.      
  • Reinstatement is only possible under certain circumstances (see below)
  • You may not work or receive any other benefits (or travel abroad) while the reinstatement is pending.

Procedures

If you have fallen out-of-status you should make an appointment with an International Student Advisor as soon as possible (301-314-7740).  During your appointment you will discuss the best option for your situation and learn what documentation is necessary in your circumstance.

Procedure for Reinstatement by Travel and Re-Entry
To obtain a new I-20/DS-2019 for the TRAVEL option, you must submit the Request For I-20/DS-2019 Form along with proof of financial support.

Procedure for Reinstatement in the United States
Reinstatement is possible only if the student:

  • Can establish "that the violation of status resulted from circumstances beyond the student's control or the violation relates to a reduction in course load that would have been within DSOs power to authorize and that failure to receive reinstatement to lawful F-1 status would result in extreme hardship to the student;" [USCIS]
  • Is currently pursuing, or intending to pursue, a full course of study at the school which issued the FORM I-20 A-B
  • Has not engaged in unauthorized employment and is not deportable on any ground other than section 241 (a)(1)(B) or (C)(i) of the Act [overstaying or failing to maintain status]. [8CFR 214.2(f)(16)]
  • Does not have a record of repeated or willful violations
  • For F-1 students: Has not been out of status for more than 5 months at time of filing request (unless student provides substantial reasons for delay) 
  • For J-1 students: Has not been out of status for more than 270 days at time of filing request (unless student provides substantial reasons for delay)

Step 1

Schedule an appointment with an International Student Advisor. Bring the following documents to the appointment with you.  After reviewing your complete documents the advisor will create an I-20/DS-2019. 

  • Completed Request For I-20/DS-2019 Form
  • Check for $290 made out to the "Department of Homeland Security"
  • Copy of form I-94
  • Completed Form I-539 (to be completed in blue ink)
  • Letter from student explaining failure to maintain status
  • Any additional documents or statements to support case
  • Original copies of your financial support information
    • An assistantship/fellowship offer letter valid for remainder of academic program.
    • Proof of liquid finances to cover all estimated expenses (tuition, fees, books, insurance, and living expenses) for remainder of academic program.
      • Official bank statements for the prior two months. The statement should clearly indicate the name(s) of the account holder(s) and the actual amount of money in the account(s).
        • The account type should be checking, savings, or CD.
        • If you have a sponsor, the following information from your sponsor is required:
    • If you have dependent(s), please show additional financial support of $4,500 for each dependent.
  • Photocopies of all old I-20s/DS-2019s
  • Photocopies of your passport number/photo/expiration date page(s)

Step 2

Send the reinstatement application to the USCIS. The completed reinstatement application should include:

  • ISSS cover letter
  • Check for $290 made out to the "Department of Homeland Security"
  • Original form I-94
  • Form I-539 (to be completed in blue ink)
  • Letter from student explaining failure to maintain status
  • Any additional documents or statements to support case
  • Original New Form I-20/DS-2019 issued with the notation "Reinstatement"
    (make sure that you sign and date the I-20/DS-2019 before you send it!)
  • Photocopies of all old I-20s/DS-2019s
  • Photocopies of your passport number/photo/expiration date page(s)
  • Original copies of your financial support information
  • Transcript or other proof of current full-time enrollment

Retain photocopies of your application for your records.    Please indicate clearly "I-539: Reinstatement form" on the outside of the envelope. Use a traceable mailing system.  If the address on your I-539 is in Maryland, DC or Virginia, mail the complete package to:

For U.S. Postal Service (USPS) Deliveries:
USCIS
P.O. Box 660166
Dallas, TX 75266

For Express mail and courier deliveries:
USCIS
ATTN:  I-539
2501 S. State Highway 121 Business
Suite 400
Lewisville, TX 75067

 

*If you use an address in another state please visit www.uscis.gov and click on Services Field Office Addresses and Information to find the correct service center.

Step 3

You will receive a notice from USCIS within two to three weeks indicating they have received your application. USCIS usually takes about two to four months to make a decision.

Step 4

Once your application is approved, please bring all of your documents back to ISSS within two weeks of approval so that we may update your status in the University of Maryland system. Remember that if you wish to work on-campus, you must wait until the reinstatement has been approved.