Regaining Legal F-1 Status
In certain circumstances, you can apply for reinstatement if you have violated the terms of your legal status. Reinstatement is a process in which you apply to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to have mistakes cleared away and your legal student immigration status restored. Reinstatement is not something to be undertaken lightly, as not all students who apply for reinstatement are successful in obtaining it.
What should you do first?
Meet with an ISS advisor!
Depending on your circumstances, your violation may or may not be corrected through reinstatement. An ISS advisor can help determine your eligibility for reinstatement (although the final approval is made by USCIS), or whether traveling outside the U.S. and re-entering with an Initial Attendance I-20 to regain your status may be a better option. You may consult with an ISS advisor during walk-in advising hours or by calling the ISS office to make an appointment.
For details on applying for reinstatement VS travel & re-entry to regain status, review our Regain Legal Status handout.