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Reinstatement for Failure to Maintain F-1 Status

An F-1 student who has failed in any way to maintain F-1 status is considered "out of status."  If you think you are out of status, please contact your ISSO advisor immediately.  Your situation will be properly evaluated to determine whether or not a violation has actually occurred.

An F-1 student who is determined by the ISSO to be out of status will not be eligible for a travel signature, change of status, or any employment benefits.

You will have two options for regaining F-1 status:

  1. Apply for F-1 reinstatement with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS)
  2. F-1 students may apply for reinstatement if they do not have a record of repeated or willful violations of USCIS regulations, have not worked illegally, and have been out of status for less than 5 months.  (Students may still apply if they can demonstrate exceptional circumstances for failing to apply within the 5-month period allowed and are otherwise applying as promptly as possible.)  F-1 students must also establish to the satisfaction of the USCIS that either:

    1. The violation of status resulted from circumstances beyond their control, or

    2. The violation is related to a reduced course load that would have been within the ISSO's power to authorize, and that failure to approve reinstatement would result in extreme hardship to the student.
    3. If you choose to reinstate, your ISSO advisor must assist you with the application and issue a Reinstatement I-20.  You will be required to file your application with the USCIS Vermont Service Center.  If you are granted Reinstatement of your F-1 status, your violation is forgiven and you will be eligible for any F-1 benefits for which you qualify.  If your reinstatement application is denied, you cannot appeal the decision and you will be required to depart the United States within a reasonable period of time.


  3. Request a new I-20 to travel and reenter the U.S. in a new F-1 status

    This method is sometimes necessary for students who do not have time to apply for Reinstatement due to unavoidable travel plans, or who are already out of the U.S., but are ineligible to reenter on their current I-20.  In some cases, reentry on a new I-20 may even be possible for students who are ineligible for, or have been denied, reinstatement.

    IMPORTANT: Although you will be considered in valid F-1 status after reentry, this option is not the same as reinstatement, and it does not forgive your past violation(s).  Also, you will be ineligible for off-campus employment or Economic Hardship until after you have maintained a full course of study for one full academic year after regaining F-1 status.


Boston University
February 28, 2005

Boston University International Students & Scholars Office