Maintaining F1 Status

Losing your F1 status could lead to arrest and deportation by U.S. immigration officials, and denial of other visa requests in the future.

During new international student orientation you will learn what you must do to maintain your F1 status. A reminder checklist is posted online. The International Center sends out regular email reminders, so check your email regularly and update us if your email address changes.

Common visa status violations

  • working without authorization from the International Center/USCIS
  • dropping/withdrawing from classes without authorization from the International Center
  • failing to extend the I-20 if you do not graduate on time
  • poor academic performance, such as failing all classes in a semester or being placed on academic suspension
  • failing to report changes of address to the International Center within 10 days
  • failing to transfer to another school, depart the United States, apply for OPT training post-completion, or apply for another visa category within 60 days of completing studies at NLC
  • failing to report a change in employment status, if the student is on OPT
  • committing a crime that results in a conviction

The reinstatement process

F1 students who have been out of status for more than 5 months need to show compelling reasons for not applying sooner, such as medical emergencies. If you have lost your F1 status, the application procedure for reinstatement is as follows:

  1. Submit these required forms and documents to the International Center as soon as possible:
    • Completed USCIS Form I-539 for reinstatement to F1 status

    • Money order for the filing fee

    • Two copies of each of these: your passport ID page, I-94 card front and back, F1 visa stamp, and all I-20s issued to you including I-20s issued from previous U.S. institutions you may have attended before coming to NLC. If you do not have a paper I-94 card, we will help find an electronic copy.

    • Copies of official transcripts from all U.S. schools you have attended

    • Letter from you addressed to USCIS explaining why you lost your F1 status and that it was due to reasons you could not control

  2. Incomplete reinstatement applications will not be processed. We reserve the right to recommend against reinstating an F1 student.
  3. The F1 advisor will review your reinstatement documents and check to make sure you are still enrolled full-time at the college. 
  4. The International Center will provide you with a packet to mail to USCIS. It is your responsibility to mail them. USCIS should issue a receipt within four weeks. You can use the receipt to check your status online at the USCIS website.

USCIS should make a decision within three to five months. In the meantime you cannot travel out of the United States and you must maintain full-time enrollment at North Lake.
Sometimes USCIS requests more information about your reinstatement. If this happens we will notify you immediately. Failure to respond may result in USCIS denying your reinstatement.
If USCIS reinstates your F1 status, we will notify you immediately.
If the request is denied, we will also notify you immediately. An F1 advisor can discuss the denial and your options. It is important that you make arrangements to leave the United States as soon as possible after a reinstatement application has been denied. You do have the option to consult a board certified U.S. immigration attorney to discuss your situation.

The NLC International Center is not responsible for reinstatement decisions made by the United States government.

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