How Should an F or M Student File for Reinstatement?
Note: Some of the content in this blog post was updated in Oct. 2019.
If an F or M international student fails to maintain their status, or if there is some question as to whether they have, and their designated school official (DSO) terminates their Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) record, the student must file for reinstatement with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) or depart the United States immediately.
If a DSO or SEVIS terminates a student’s record and the student wishes to remain in the United States and plans maintain the conditions of F-1 or M-1 status, the student should ask their DSO to recommend them for reinstatement in SEVIS. If a DSO makes the recommendation, they will print, sign and issue a new Form I-20, “Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status,” to the student.
Once the student has the DSO’s recommendation and the new, signed Form I-20 for reinstatement, the student must submit a completed Form I-539, “Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status,” with applicable fees and supporting documents to USCIS.
After a student submits the Form I-539, USCIS will make a decision of acceptance or rejection and email the decision to the student. If classes are in session while the student is applying for and pending reinstatement, the student should continue to attend school as the student will have to abide by the terms of the F-1 status as of the date of reinstatement, including being enrolled on a full time basis.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security reserves reinstatement for situations when a student fails to or may have failed to maintain status. In the case where a DSO makes an error and wrongfully terminates a student’s SEVIS record, the DSO should request either a SEVIS correction or data fix.
Do you have questions about F and M reinstatement? Visit the SEVIS Help Hub for more information on the process.