The OIA will assist F-1 students in applying for reinstatement to legal student status if certain qualifications are met for the petition. The OIA does not have the approval authority, and all petitions are submitted to the USCIS through SEVIS for review, adjudication, and final decision. The applicant will be informed of the final decision. The “Out of Status Student” may apply to the USCIS for reinstatement if at least one of the following reasons applies:

  1. The student has not been out of status for more than five (5) months at the time of filing the request for reinstatement (or demonstrates that the failure to file within the five (5) month period was the result of exceptional circumstances and that the student filed the request for reinstatement as promptly as possible under these exceptional circumstances).
  2. The student does not have a record of repeated or willful violations of service regulations.
  3. The student is currently pursuing, or intending to pursue, a full course of study in the immediate future at the school which issued the form I-20.
  4. The student has not engaged in unauthorized employment.
  5. The student is not deportable on any grounds other than those specified by USCIS.
  6. The student has established to the satisfaction of the Service, by a detailed showing, either that;
    • The violation of status resulted from circumstances beyond the student’s control. Such circumstances might include serious injury or illness, closure of the institution, a natural disaster, or inadvertence, oversight, or neglect on the part of the DSO, but do not include instances where a pattern of repeated violations or were a willful failure on the part of the student resulting in the need for reinstatement; or,
    • The violation relates to a reduction in the student’s course load that would have been within a DSO’s power to authorize, and that failure to approve reinstatement would result in extreme hardship to the student.

If the USCIS does not approve the reinstatement request, the student may not appeal that decision and should prepare to depart the United States.