This is the process by which F-1/J-1 students who are out of status regain their immigration status. United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) may consider reinstating a student who submits Form I-539 and a new I-20 or DS-2019 issued by the international advisor.

How to regain one's immigration status?

There are two different options for reinstatement of an F-1 or a J-1 student.

  1. Submit a reinstatement application to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) within the United States.
  2. Travel outside the U.S., apply for an F-1 or J-1 visa at a U.S. consulate or embassy and re-enter the U.S. with the new visa and in the new immigration status.

Reinstatement by filing application to USCIS within the U.S.

Eligibility: To apply for reinstatement, the student:

  1. Must have not been out of status for more than 5 months  at the time of filing reinstatement (or demonstrates that the failure to file within the 5 month period was the result of exceptional circumstances and that the student filed the request for reinstatement as promptly as possible under these exceptional circumstances)
  2. Does not have a record of repeated or willful violations of USCIS regulations
  3. Is currently pursuing, or intending to pursue a full course of study in the immediate future
  4. Has not engaged in unauthorized employment;
  5. Is not deportable on any other grounds; and
  6. Establishes to the satisfaction of USCIS that:
    • The violation of status resulted from circumstances beyond the student's control (such as serious injury or illness, a natural disaster, or a mistake made by the international student advisor.
    • The violation relates to a reduction in course load that would have been in the international student advisor's power to authorize, and that failure to approve reinstatement would result in extreme hardship to the student.

Students are required to continue to study in order to maintain their F-1 status while application is still pending. However, they are not permitted to work on-campus or off-campus after violation of status and while reinstatement application is pending.

The process for reinstatement can take approximately three to six months.

Reinstatement Application Procedure

Paper Application Procedure for Change of Status inside the U.S.

Your request to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for change of status should consist of the following checklist:

  • Completed and signed Form I-539 – Application to Extend / Change Non-Immigrant Status
  • Completed Form G-1145, E-Notification of Application/Petition Acceptance
  • Check or money order of $290 payable to the "U.S.  Department of Homeland Security"
  • Photocopy of the new Form I-20 or DS-2019 from Webster University signed and dated
  • Photocopy of your current Form I-94 (front and back) and/or the electronic copy of the I-94 Admission record available from
  • Photocopy of your passport biographical page showing name, photo, date of birth, and expiration date
  • Photocopy of your current visa stamp
  • Copy of your current financial support document showing you have sufficient fund to pay for your educational expenses and cost of living (such as bank statement or scholarship letter)
  • Class schedule/registration showing current and/or intended classes for enrollment
  • A written statement explaining:
    • why the violation of status was beyond your control; 
    • that you are now pursuing (or will be pursuing) a full course of study;
    • how you supported yourself without working while you were out of status;
    • that you are not deportable
  • Recommendation letter from Webster University International Recruitment and International Services. If your I-20 SEVIS record was terminated from or by another school before transferring to Webster University, then you need to submit a second recommendation from the International Student Advisor at your previous school.
  • I-901 SEVIS Fee Receipt showing payment of the Form I-901 $200 (for F-1 student) or $180 (for J-1 exchange student) SEVIS fee (If you have been out of status for more than five months, you need to pay the SEVIS Fee before you file for reinstatement). Go to for more payment details information.

Where to Apply? Send completed paper application to one of the addresses below:

By U.S. Postal Services:

P. O. Box 660166
Dallas, TX 75266

By Express Deliveries:

ATTN: I-539
2501 S. State Highway 121 Business, Suite 400
Lewisville, TX 75067

Application Procedure for Online Application

Form I-539, Application to Extend/Change Non-immigrant Status, can now be filed online through USCIS ELIS. If you choose to electronically file (e-file) the Form I-539, you will be required to create an online account, submit evidence electronically and use a credit card or bank account to submit payment. You will need to scan and name accordingly most of the following documents as separate files to be uploaded. Please use only same format of file type e.g. .PDF or .JPG etc.

You should provide most of these documents:

Financial Document        

  • Bank Statements or
  • Financial Award such as Scholarships, Grants etc. or
  • Affidavit of Support or
  • Any Other Financial Evidence

Identity Document

  • Passport
  • Any Other Identity Evidence – such as your cover letter to USCIS that supports the identity information on the application

Immigration Status         

  • Form I-94 – Arrival Departure Record
  • Form I-20
  • Any Other Immigration Status Evidence such as form I-797

Passport Stamp 

  • Visa Stamp

 2. Reinstatement of Status by Traveling Outside the U.S.

As an alternative to reinstatement, a student may leave the United States and return on a new Form I-20 or DS-2019 with a new SEVIS ID marked for "initial attendance." The student will have to pay a new SEVIS fee and may have to apply for a new F-1 visa from the U.S. Embassy or consulate before he or she returns to the United States. In order to obtain the new I-20 or DS-2019 the student is required to submit a new financial certification document.

What are the major differences between the two options?

Students who are reinstated in either F-1 or J-1 status will be permitted to continue where their previous status was left off. However, students who choose to regain status by travel and re-entry are considered initial status students whose new status begins from zero. The previous time the student spent at Webster University will no longer be considered for OPT, CPT or academic training eligibility. Students who re-enter using a new I-20 will be required to complete one academic year before becoming eligible for CPT or OPT.

The cost for reinstatement is currently $290.On the other hand the cost for travel and re-entry includes $200 for F-1 SEVIS fee or $180 for J-1 SEVIS fee, plus any expenses incurred for travel and visa applications.

Both options have some risks. If a student’s application for reinstatement is denied, he or she will be required to leave the U.S. immediately. Likewise, a student could be denied re-entry at the port of entry, or denied a visa at the U.S. embassy or consulate.