Regain F-1 Student Status

An international student who fails to maintain their immigration status may be reinstated to valid F-1 status at the discretion of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), or by completing a re-entry.

Examples of how a student may fail to maintain status include:

  • Failure to enroll full time as required by Academic or Intensive English Program (IEP)
  • Failure to maintain a passing GPA that results in suspension
  • Failure to complete the I-20 transfer process on time when changing schools or degree programs
  • Failure to apply for an extension of program before I-20 expires

You must come in person to the International Student Office to discuss your options to regain valid F-1 status.

If you have been academically suspended at ACC, you are unable to register for the next semester. Students who have been suspended should apply to transfer to another school or institution and complete a Reinstatement or Re-entry with your new school.

This office does not accept F-1 transfer students from other schools or institutions, which are in terminated status who require a reinstatement. Students who can travel outside of the U.S. to make a re-entry with a new I-20 (Option 1 below) are eligible for F-1 transfer admission.

How to Regain F-1 Status

To process a Reinstatement or a Re-entry, you will first need to submit the following documents:

  • New, current statement of financial support
  • New, current bank statement reflecting a minimum of $29,000 U.S. dollars. 

Option 1: Re-Entry

Leave the U.S. (international travel) and re-enter using a new Form I-20.

After submitting a new statement of financial support form and bank statement, the International Student Office (ISO) will issue you a new form I-20.

Once you obtain the new Form I-20, you will need to pay the SEVIS fee for the new I-20. For more information about the SEVIS fee please refer to the SEVIS Fee page.

Your F-1 student visa must be valid to make a re-entry. If you do not have a valid F-1 visa, you will be required to apply for one using your new I-20. It is also recommended that you check with a U.S. Embassy or Consulate office on whether your previous visa is still valid or not. We recommend that you make your visa application in your home country or country of residence. Canadian Citizens are not required to have an F-1 visa in your passport.

Your valid F-1 status resumes as soon as you re-enter the United States, obtain a new I-94 record, and check-in with ISO.

After you have completed a re-entry, failure to meet with ISO in a timely manner may result in the termination of your new form I-20 (SEVIS record), and cause you to again lose your valid F-1 status.

With a re-entry, your eligibility for Curricular Practical Training (CPT) and Optional Practical Training (OPT) resets. Therefore, you must maintain valid F-1 status for one academic year after your re-entry, to become eligible again for CPT and OPT.

If traveling to Canada or Mexico for a re-entry, check the Embassy/Consulate website to see if an entry visa is required.

Option 2: Reinstatement

Apply for reinstatement through United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

The International Student Office (ISO) will give you a checklist of required documents needed to apply for Reinstatement. The ISO will help you review your reinstatement documents for submission to USCIS.

You must file USCIS I-539 in order to file for reinstatement. See USCIS I-539, Application to Extend/Change Non-immigrant Status for instructions.

Reinstatement applications can take approximately seven months or more to process, before receiving a decision from USCIS. While the reinstatement application is pending with USCIS, you may not leave the United States. If you depart the U.S, this will cancel your application with USCIS.

When you have violated your F-1 status, you may not work on campus until you regain your valid F-1 status. Additionally, any updates or renewals to your Texas driver’s license or Identification card can’t be completed until you regain your valid F-1 status.

You must enroll and maintain full-time enrollment (minimum of 12 credit hours) each fall and spring semester while your Reinstatement is in process with USCIS.

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