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F-1 Reinstatement

Students holding an F-1 visa are required to maintain legal status at all times by: enrolling on full-time basis; keeping a valid passport at all times while in the United States; avoiding unauthorized employment; and making normal academic progress toward their degree/certificate.

Students who fail to maintain their F-1 status may be able apply for reinstatement of their status with US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).  VIU will evaluate the circumstances in which the student fell out of status and only those that are able to prove that the circumstances were beyond the student's control will be considered for the reinstatement process. Students who have been out of status for more than five (5) months will not be eligible for reinstatement.

Applying for Reinstatement:

The International Students Services Office (ISSO) will require the following for all reinstatement applications:
A statement of purpose essay addressing the ISSO staff and explaining why the student should be considered for reinstatement and how the student’s circumstances and intent have changed. The essay should be emailed to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. {Subject Line: Reinstatement Application}

  • This essay should be at least 250 words and be in a clear format.

Please Note: Allow at least 5 business days for processing. Once a decision has been made on behalf of the ISSO, the student will be emailed on how to proceed.

  • All students are required to schedule, and attend an appointment with the ISSO before a Reinstatement I-20 will be issued.

Documents to be REVIEWED by the ISSO, and to be SENT to USCIS:

  1. Form I-539: Application to Extend/Change Non-immigrant Status.
    • The phrase "Reinstatement to F-1 status" should be written in Part 2, Item 1. The student should complete the entire form and sign it.
  2. Form I-539 fee, made payable to "US Department of Homeland Security."
    • Get the most current fee amount from the USCIS website.
  3. Copies of all I-20s previously issued to the student.
  4. A new, original Form I-20, issued for Reinstatement (If approved, this will be issued by the ISSO at the time of appointment)
  5. A letter from the student explaining the situation and requesting reinstatement.
    • This letter should establish that the violation resulted from circumstances beyond the student’s control.
  6. A letter from the ISS Office recommending reinstatement and providing corroboration of the situation.
    • This is required only when the violation of status resulted from an error on the part of the ISS Office.
  7. Copy of the new financial support documents in order to support the issuance of a new I-20 for reinstatement.
  8. Original Form I-94 Record.
  9. Copy of identity pages from the student's passport and visa.
  10. Any other documentation that might help establish the nature of the violation; to document that the violation occurred less than 5 months ago, and that the student is pursuing or intending to pursue a full course of study.
  11. Transcripts from all the schools the student has attended in the United States.
  12. If you have any dependents in the United States, you must also include them in the application since a violation of your F-1 status affects your dependent family members as well.