Reinstatement and Reactivation

When an F-1 student’s I-20 has been terminated, there are two options to restore active status.

Travel Option

Depart and re-enter the U.S. with a new I-20 from the school where you lost status or from a new school. This option requires the student to return to his/her home country. The student may also need a new visa also issued by the local U.S. Embassy or Consulate.

Current Students: To obtain a new I-20 from GSU, provide ISSS with updated financial information and be enrolled full time for the current semester. You are encouraged to contact your ISSS Advisor to discuss risks associated with this option.

New Students: To obtain a new I-20 from GSU,  you must be academically accepted into a program of study and enroll full time. You are encouraged to contact your ISSS Advisor to discuss risks associated with this option.

Reinstatement Option

Only available to current F1 students. Complete the Reinstatement Checklist.  Reinstatement currently takes up to 9 months, but it allows the student to remain in the U.S. while the petition is being processed USCIS. If reinstatement takes longer than the 60 day grace period after completion of your program of study end, you will not be eligible for OPT. Please contact your ISSS advisor about this option.

  • Failure to enroll or maintain full-time enrollment
  • Failure to request an I-20 extension before your current I-20 expires
  • Failure to pay all tuition and fees by the payment deadline, resulting in automatic drop of all enrollment
  • Failure to transfer schools in a timely manner
  • Working without authorization
  • Unable to Register SEVIS record due to lack of valid local (U.S.) address

According to immigration regulations, not everyone is eligible for reinstatement. Below are the eligibility requirements. Make sure you come to ISSS to discuss your particular circumstances with an advisor.

Eligibility Requirements:

  • You have not been out of status for more than 5 months *
  • You are enrolled full time or plan to enroll full time as soon as possible
  • You have not worked illegally
  • You are not in deportation procedures
  • You fell out of status for reasons beyond your control
  • You do not have a record of repeated or willful violations

* Students who have fallen out of status have a period of 5 months to apply for reinstatement. If you apply beyond the 5-month-period, your application is less likely to be approved because you will have to demonstrate that there were exceptional circumstances€ which prevented you from applying in a timely manner.

Reactivation of Status

F1 students who contact ISSS prior to course withdrawal may be eligible for termination of status based on “approved early withdrawal.”  In this case, if they plan to return to the U.S. within 5 months, they can request “Reactivation” of status, which resets status to “active.”  Reactivation protects a student’s eligibility for OPT/CPT associated with the original I-20 and visa if they have not expired. Approval for reactivation is granted by USCIS, not ISSS.

  1. Contact ISSS at least 2 months before returning to Georgia State so we can request reactivation.
  2. Do not purchase airfare until the outcome of your request is determined.
  3. ISSS will contact you when your SEVIS record is reactivated, thus restoring it “active” status. Processing times vary from 2 - 4 weeks or more.  During this time, it is very important to check email regularly from ISSS if we need additional information for USCIS within a short deadline.
  4. Confirm if the travel signatureon page 2 of your I-20 is less than 6 months old.  If not, request an updated travel signature from ISSS.

If approved for “Reactivation” by USCIS, re-enter the U.S. with: unexpired F-1 visa, valid passport and your original I-20.

Frequently Asked Questions

If you believe that you have lost your status, you should come to ISSS to speak with an advisor immediately.
No, this practice is no longer possible. Please come to ISSS to discuss your situation with an advisor.
The time period is very unpredictable, but is taking  from 6-9 months to a year, in some cases. ISSS has no control over the processing time. Therefore, if Reinstatement will likely take longer than  the 60 day grace period after your program of study ends, you will not be eligible for OPT. 
 If you don’t apply for reinstatement or pursue the travel option, you will be unlawfully present, which is risky. This could lead to deportation proceedings if you come into contact with law enforcement. In addition, you will not be eligible for F-1 benefits, including employment.
Yes, if you were already admitted when you fell out of status. You cannot be admitted to GSU if you are out of status. You do not qualify for any benefits of F1 status, such as employment options if you are out of status. 
No. If you are out of status you are not eligible for any of the benefits related to F-1 status.