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Options to Regain Legal Status


Loss of status results in the immediate termination of eligibility for such immigration benefits as employment, extension of stay, school or academic program transfer, or travel signature re-certification. Once out of status, students must seek to take action to get back into lawful status in order to regain eligibility for immigration benefits.

Information for F-1 Students

F-1 students lose their status by:

  • failing to pursue full-time study without prior OGS approval
  • failing to make normal progress toward degree completion
  • failing to apply for program extension before the expiration of the I-20
  • transferring from one institution to another without completing the transfer process within prescribed time limits
  • failing to complete the change of program process within prescribed time limits

It is not possible to regain legal status for students who have engaged in unauthorized employment.

Options to regain F-1 Status

There are two options to regain F-1 status: reinspection (requires travel outside of the U.S.) and reinstatement (requires that you remain in the U.S. until your application is approved). To be eligible for either option, you must have approval to continue in your program and have adequate funds. Both options have positive and negative aspects but you will need to decide which works best for your needs. Remember, you must cease all on-campus or authorized off-campus employment until you regain F-1 status.

Option 1: Reinspection

Application Procedure

The student meets with an OGS advisor to obtain a new I-20, providing the following documents:

  • updated financial documentation, and
  • supporting letter from the academic advisor, undergraduate dean, or director of graduate studies

The student then leaves the U.S. and re-enters with a new I-94 record. This option allows you to start your F-1 status anew.

  • With your new I-20, you would pay the SEVIS fee again, and re-enter the U.S.
  • If your F-1 violation occurred five or more months ago, you must apply for a new U.S. entry visa
  • Your legal F-1 status begins when you enter the U.S. successfully with a new I-94 record. Because of this you will NOT be eligible for off-campus work authorization right away. You must have two semesters of academic work remaining after re-entering the U.S. in your new F-1 status. Discuss any concerns you have about employment with an OGS advisor before you request an I-20 for reinspection.

Option 2: Reinstatement

To be reinstated students must:

  • be pursuing or intend to pursue a full course of study at NYU
  • have sufficient financial resources to register for a full course of study
  • document that loss of status was due to circumstances beyond your control or that failure to be reinstated would result in extreme personal hardship
  • document that the violation took place less than 5 months ago from the date of reinstatement application or that if it took place more than 5 months ago provide detailed explanation of why you did not apply for reinstatement sooner

Application Procedure

The student meets with an OGS advisor to obtain an I-20 for reinstatement, providing the following documents:

  • a letter detailing the nature of and reasons for the violation of F-1 regulations
  • updated financial documentation, and
  • supporting letters from the academic advisor, undergraduate dean, or director of graduate studies, if necessary

If the student is eligible to pursue reinstatement, the OGS will produce a new I-20 issued for this purpose.

The student then submits the following to the USCIS:

  • I-94 record
  • a completed USCIS Form I-539
  • a check or money order made payable to U.S. Department of Homeland Security in the amount of $290
  • copies of passport and visa
  • the new NYU I-20
  • copies of financial documents
  • letter of explanation requesting reinstatement to F-1 status

If you have been out of status for more than five months, you also need to pay the SEVIS fee and include proof of payment with your reinstatement application.

The application is mailed to USCIS. Students are urged to consult with an OGS advisor prior to submitting the application.

The USCIS will determine the F-1 student's eligibility for reinstatement and notify the student of the decision in writing, returning the I-94 information and new I-20. Students whose application is denied must see an OGS advisor immediately.

Students may not be employed while out of status.

Information for J-1 Students

J-1 regulations distinguish minor procedural violations from substantive violations. The exchange visitor program sponsor can correct minor violations, but a substantive violation requires an application to the U.S. Department of State for reinstatement. The most severe violations lead to automatic termination of J-1 status.

Minor Errors and Violations

Minor errors or violations include:

  • applying for an extension of stay after the DS-2019 expires,
  • when caused by administrative delay or oversight, failing to complete the transfer from one exchange visitor program to another, and
  • applying for employment authorization after the DS-2019 expires.

After reviewing the request, the program sponsor can issue a new DS-2019 that corrects the J-1 record and extends the student's stay unless:

  • the request is made more than 120 days after the DS-2019 expires or 120 days after the infraction takes place, whichever is earlier,
  • the student has willfully failed to maintain adequate health insurance,
  • the request involves a change in the original program objective,
  • the student has failed to maintain a full course of study, or
  • the student has previously violated J-1 regulations.

Substantive Violations and Reinstatement

Students must apply to the U.S. Department of State for reinstatement if they fail to:

  • enroll as full-time students without authorization from the exchange visitor program sponsor, or
  • seek a correction of the record within 120 days of committing the violation.

J-1 students may apply for reinstatement only if the violation occurred as a result of circumstances beyond their control. Application approval is not guaranteed.

To apply students must submit to the program sponsor:

  • a written statement explaining the circumstances beyond their control that necessitates the request for reinstatement,
  • financial documentation,
  • copies of all previously issued forms DS-2019, and
  • a check for $246 payable to "NYU"

The program sponsor makes the necessary changes in SEVIS, writes a supporting letter explaining the violation and requesting the student's reinstatement, and mails it with the documents provided by the student to the U.S. Department of State. If the application is approved, the program sponsor issues the student a new DS-2019.

Students may not be employed while out of status.

Violations Leading to Automatic Termination

The U.S. Department of State will not reinstate students who:

  • fail to maintain required health insurance coverage,
  • engage in unauthorized employment,
  • are suspended or terminated from their academic program,
  • fail to maintain their original program objective,
  • have been out of status for more than 270 days, or
  • receive a recommendation for a waiver of the two-year home residence requirement.

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