There are several reasons students can lose their status. Among the most common are:
- Failure to enroll full-time (see enrollment requirements)
- Failure to request an I-20 extension before your current I-20 expires
- Failure to pay for your classes, thus no enrollment
- Failure to transfer schools in a timely manner
- Working without authorization. Note: A student who has worked without authorization is not eligible for reinstatement.
If you think that you may be out of status, please visit the ISSSO immediately. The longer you wait to address the problem, the more difficult it can become. Furthermore, only students in valid F-1 status are eligible for F-1 benefits from the USCIS (e.g. authorization to work on-campus, practical training work authorization).
Options for Regaining F-1 Status
A student who has failed to maintain F-1 student status and wishes to continue studying at (or transfer to) Kennesaw State University must regain valid status. There are two avenues for doing this:
- Depart and re-enter the United States with a new I-20 (issued by either the school where you lost your status or a new school).
- Apply for reinstatement of status through an application to USCIS. This must be done with the support of the ISSSO.
Below is a comparison of the two options for regaining status. Students should meet with an ISSSO advisor to discuss their particular situation and best course of action.
ConsiderationRe-entry to the U.S.Reinstatement
CostIncurs travel expenses and requires new SEVIS I-901 feeRequires USCIS reinstatement application fee and incurs any immigration attorney fees
On-Campus EmploymentMay resume on-campus employment after re-entryIneligible for on-campus employment until reinstatement is approved
Practical Training (CPT or OPT)Eligible for CPT or OPT only after one academic year of study after re-entryEligible for CPT or OPT if student completed one academic year before falling out of status, or after completing one academic year following reinstatement
Presence in the U.S.Requires departing the U.S.; risk of denial of re-admission to the U.S. at the port of entryRemain in the U.S. while application is processing
Time InvolvedRegain status quickly by re-entering the U.S.Dependent upon USCIS processing times, typically a few months to a year
Visa ValidityRequires a valid visa for re-entryValid visa not required
Eligibility for Reinstatement
According to immigration regulations, not everyone is eligible for reinstatement. Below are the eligibility requirements. Make sure you come to the ISSS Office to discuss your particular circumstances with an ISSSO advisor. The KSU ISSSO will assist students with a reinstatement petition only if all of the conditions apply. Students will need to consult with a US immigration attorney to file the application.
- You have not been out of status for more than 5 months*
- You are enrolled full time or plan to enroll full time as soon as possible
- You have not engaged in unauthorized employment
- You are not in deportation procedures
- You fell out of status for reasons beyond your control
- You do not have a record of repeated or willful violations
- You are not deportable on any other grounds
*Students who have fallen out of status have a period of 5 months to apply for reinstatement.
If you apply beyond the 5-month period, your application is less likely to be approved
because you will have to demonstrate that there were exceptional circumstances which
prevented you from applying in a timely manner.
Frequently Asked Questions
What if I don't apply for reinstatement and stay in the U.S.?If you don’t apply for reinstatement or re-enter the U.S. in order to regain your status, you may be subject to deportation and may be barred from re-entering the U.S. in the future. In addition, while you are in the U.S. you will not be eligible for any of the benefits available to F-1 students, including employment.
Can I study if I am out of status?Yes, but you cannot work on (or off) campus.
Can I apply for CPT or OPT while my reinstatement application is pending?No.
Can I work if I don't apply for reinstatement?No. If you are out of status you are not eligible for any of the benefits related to F-1 status.