Maintaining Status

For F-1 students,"maintaining / being in status" means following the rules of their student visa. This includes the F-1 Basics as well as reporting requirements, normal progress requirements, and proper documentation and procedures.

Out of Status

A person is out of status if he/she does not follow the rules of his/her visa. A student who is out of status loses the benefits of his/her visa, which means that he/she cannot:

- transfer to a new school in status
- obtain a travel signature on page 3 of the I-20 form (I-20 signature)
- take a vacation quarter (stay in the United States without studying full-time)
- work on campus (F-1)
- receive permission for practical training or any other off-campus employment
- receive any other benefits of being an F-1 or M-1 student

When a student falls out of status, the IEP Office will terminate the student's SEVIS record. The student is also in danger of becoming an overstay, which results in serious immigration consequences (see Overstays tab). Once a student's SEVIS record is terminated, all future applications for visa renewal may be affected.

Common Reasons for Falling Out of Status include:

- not meeting full-time requirements without prior authorization
- withdrawing in the middle of a school term without prior authorization
- academic suspension or dismissal
- taking too many NC’s or Withdrawals
- staying longer than 60 days after finishing a program (when ineligible for vacation quarter)
- allowing an I-20 form to expire

Getting back in status can be time consuming and costly. Therefore, students are strongly encouraged to seek help whenever they experience academic or personal difficulties, and to communicate with their advisors and instructors, so they do not risk losing their status.

Reinstatement

A person who is out of status can get back in status while remaining in the U.S. by applying for reinstatement. Once reinstated, he/she regains legal student status and may remain in the country. DHS will consider a student for reinstatement if the failure to maintain status resulted from reasons beyond the student's control. DHS provides the following examples:

- natural Disaster
- closure of the school
- serious injury or illness
- mistake on the part of the international office

Students who wish to apply for reinstatement must meet with their primary advisor.

Note: A student out of status for more than 5 months is not eligible for reinstatement.

If DHS denies a reinstatement request, the student visa will be cancelled. The student will be asked to leave the U.S. immediately. At that point, the student may want to consult an immigration lawyer if he/she intends to remain in the United States.

Overstays

If a reinstatement application is denied by USCIS, the student must leave the United States immediately. Students who do not leave will become an “Overstay”. There are significant penalties for people who are judged to be an overstay, including:

- automatic cancellation of the visa, even if it is good for several more years
- for overstays of more than 180 days, the person will be banned from the U.S. for 3 years
- for overstays of more than 1 year, the person will be banned from the U.S. for 10 years

Students who stay in the United States beyond their grace period will fall out of status and be subject to deportation. Please consult with an IEP advisor for more details.

Re-Entry instead of Reinstatement

Some students may be eligible to make a new entry into the U.S. and regain their F-1 status. Re-entry means to leave the country and re-enter the U.S. on a new I-20, created from a new SEVIS record. In order to re-entry, a student must have a valid F-1 visa. Students interested in doing re-entry should contact their primary advisor.