Application Materials & Resources

Form G-1145
Form I-539 & Instructions


The following are ways a student might violate their F-1 status:

  • Failing to enroll full time during a fall or spring semester (or summer if first semester) without receiving approval for a reduced course load from the International Students and Scholars Office (ISSO)
  • Failing to check in with ISSO at the beginning of academic program
  • Failing to complete change of educational levels within 60 days of completing previous degree program
  • Working more than 20 hours on campus during the fall or spring semester
    • Exception: students may work full time during official school breaks: Thanksgiving and Spring Break
  • Working off campus without obtaining approval from the ISSO or USCIS
  • Failing to apply for a program extension before current I-20 expired
  • Failing to complete a creative component/dissertation by the end date of OPT or STEM OPT EAD
  • Failing to leave the U.S. within 60 days of completing degree program (60 days from last day of semester)
  • Failing to complete transfer procedure within 15 days of the start of the semester

Consequences of Failing to Maintain Status

Students may accrue unlawful presence and be subject to deportation from the U.S. For this reason, ISSO recommends students work with a reliable and reputable immigration attorney when filing for reinstatement. 
Students who fail to maintain status are ineligible for all benefits of F-1 status, including:

  • On or off-campus work permission including graduate assistantships
  • Curricular or Optional Practical Training
  • SEVIS transfer may not be possible
    • SEVIS transfer is only possible if new school is willing to accept terminated record and prior to submission of reinstatement application
  • Program extension
  • Change of nonimmigrant status

Options Following Violation of F-1 Status

Option 1: Reinstatement

ISSO recommends students work with a reliable and reputable immigration attorney when filing a reinstatement applicaiton. Reinstatement is an application submitted to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) by a student who has violated their F-1 status to request return to legal student status. A reinstatement application costs $370 and can take approximately five months to be processed by USCIS. If approved, the student is reinstated and will resume active F-1 status.

Option 2: Travel and Reenter

A student may choose to travel and re-enter the United States. The violation would remain on the previous F-1 record and could affect the ability to obtain a new F-1 visa to return to the U.S. There are several considerations with re-entry:

  • Reentry is limited to 30-day period prior to the reporting date on the new I-20
  • Not eligible for CPT or OPT until enrolled full time at ISU in new F-1 status for one academic year
  • Required to pay the I-901 SEVIS Fee again for new SEVIS record
  • Required to apply for new visa

Eligibility for Reinstatement

  • Violation of F-1 status occurred within the last five months (or demonstrates that the failure to file a reinstatement within the 5 months period was the result of exceptional circumstances)
  • No record of repeated or willful violation of USCIS regulations
  • Currently pursuing a full course of study
  • Have not engaged in unauthorized employment
  • Evidence that the violation of status resulted from circumstances beyond your control

Out of Status for 5 Months or Longer

Students who have been out of status for more than 5 months will more than likely need to leave the country and reenter on a new SEVIS record with a new visa. Students in this situation may file for reinstatement if they can demonstrate that failure to file during the 5 months was a result of “exceptional circumstances."

Reinstatement and Transfer

Students who plan to transfer should inform the new school that they need to file for reinstatement and ask if the school will accept their SEVIS record in terminated status. If the school is willing to accept the terminated SEVIS record, the student would need to complete the transfer process with ISSO prior to applying for reinstatement. ISSO will then release the terminated SEVIS record to the institution where the student will be attending. 

Cystart Request

Students will need to request a reinstatement I-20 in Cystart. ISSO recommends students work with a reputable and qualified immigration attorney when filing a reinstatement application. 


ISSO recommends filing the reinstatement application as soon as possible after the violation occurs, but no later than 5 months from the date of the violation.


  • $370 non-refundable fee for the reinstatement application
  • If student has been out of status for more than 5 months, additional $200 for the SEVIS Fee payment

Cystart Process

This is an electronic process completed through Cystart. The link for Cystart can be found on the ISSO homepage. Log in to Cystart using ISU NetID and password. Once in Cystart, select F-1 Student Services and complete the Reinstatement to F-1 Status e-form.

Required Documentation for Cystart Request

  • Proof of financial support for two semesters, or amount remaining in program
  • Refer to the Expense Worksheet to understand how much financial support is required
  • Financial documents more than 3 months old will not be accepted
    • Examples of financial documentations include: U.S. or foreign bank statements, Letter of Intent for graduate assistants, etc. Consult with an ISSO advisor on other types of acceptable financial support documentation).

ISSO Processing 

10 working days after there is a check mark in all boxes in the Cystart request. When the request is approved, ISSO will prepare new I-20s for the F-1 and F-2 dependents. ISSO will send an email to the ISU email address on file notifying the student to pick up their new I-20. ISSO recommends sending an email to if an email has not been received within 10 working days.

Application to USCIS

Required Application Materials

Below are some common documents that F-1 students submit with a reinstatement application:

  • $370 personal check, made payable to U.S. Department of Homeland Security
  • Completed Form I-539, printed and typed
  • Form G-1145, printed and typed
  • Copy of new I-20 issued for reinstatement request, signed by ISSO advisor and student
  • Copy of SEVIS I-901 fee payment receipt (if out of status for longer than 5 months)
  • Copy of financial documentation submitted for new I-20
    • ISSO recommends bringing the 3 most recent bank statements
  • Letter explaining violation, including:
    • Why student is out of status
    • Reason for the status violation
    • The effect on the student of failure to receive reinstatement
    • A statement that you are currently pursuing a full course of study
    • And specifically request that USCIS reinstate student back to F-1 student status
  • Copy of class schedule and university transcript
  • Copy the following immigration documents:
    • I-94
    • Passport identity page
    • Passport page showing expiration date of passport
    • Passport page with most recent F-1 visa
  • Any other documentation that might help establish the nature of the violation, to document that the violation occurred less than 5 months ago, or to justify why it should be accepted even if the violation occurred more than 5 months ago

Pending Reinstatement Application

Receipt Notice

USCIS will send an email and/or text message. USCIS will also send the official I-797 Receipt Notice to the address listed on the Form I-539. It can take approximately 2 weeks to receive the email or text message from the date the Reinstatement application is received.

ISSO Process

Please provide ISSO a copy of the I-797 receipt notice and approval or denial notice, once received. You can upload these documents in Cystart's "Immigration Document Upload" e-form. 

Requirements While Reinstatement is Pending

  • Must continue to enroll full time for each fall or spring semester (or summer, if first or last semester)
    • 12 credits for undergraduate students
    • 9 credits for graduate students without an assistantship
  • If eligible, students may file a request for a reduced course load


Students should not travel outside of the U.S. while reinstatement is pending. Reinstatement applications are considered abandoned when the student leaves the U.S.

Approved Reinstatement Application

Following reinstatement approval, the following happens: 

  • Student is returned to former F-1 status
  • After the student receives the I-797 Approval Notice from USCIS, regain eligibility for all qualifying benefits of F-1 status
    • On-campus employment
    • Curricular Practical Training 
    • Optional Practical Training

Notify ISSO of Approval

If the I-797 Approval Notice arrives at the student's home address, they are asked to bring the I-797 Approval Notice to the ISSO. ISSO will then restore the SEVIS record to "Active" status and issue a new I-20. Students are encouraged to keep the I-797 Approval Notice for their records. The bottom half of the I-797 Approval Notice is the I-94.

On-Campus Employment

Once a student receives the original paper I-797 Approval Notice from USCIS, students then regain all previously qualifying employment benefits. Students should work with an ISSO to complete a new I-9 before starting any on-campus work. 

Off-Campus Employment 

Once a student receives the original paper I-797 Approval Notice from USCIS, students then regain all previously qualifying employment benefits. Students will need to follow the normal procedures when applying for CPT or OPT. 

Denied Reinstatement Application

ISSO recommends students work with a qualified and reputable immigration attorney in the event their application is denied. An immigration attorney can best advise an F-1 student on the ramifications of a reinstatement application denial and any remaining options. 

Disclaimer: This Frequently Asked Questions is intended for general information and guidance. As this information can quickly become outdated or may not apply to your situation, please consult with an International Student Advisor in the International Students and Scholars Office regarding your individual questions.