Reinstatement and Reactivation

When an F-1 student’s I-20 is terminated, the student loses status/becomes “out of status”.  There are two options to regain active status.

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

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.

Please contact your ISSS advisor to discuss eligibility for reinstatement. A student is allowed to remain in the U.S. while their reinstatement application is pending with USCIS. Full-time enrollment is required while reinstatement is pending. 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.

  • 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 between schools in a timely manner
  • Employment without authorization
  • Unable to Register new initial SEVIS record due to lack of valid local (U.S.) address

Not everyone is eligible for reinstatement. The eligibility requirements are below. Make sure you contact your ISSS advisor to discuss your particular circumstances as soon as possible after termination of status

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 been employed without authorization
  • You are not in deportation proceedings
  • You lost status for reasons beyond your control
  • You do not have a record of repeated or willful violations or other unlawful activity

Time Limit:

Students who have lost 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 exceptional circumstances€ which prevented you from applying within 5 months.

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 University 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 to “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 signature on 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 F-1 status, contact or visit ISSS to speak with an advisor immediately.


USCIS application processing times are unpredictable. 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 to regain status, you will be unlawfully present, which is risky. This could lead to deportation proceedings if you encounter law enforcement. In addition, you will not be eligible for F-1 benefits, including employment. The longer you are in the U.S. unlawfully, the harder it will be in the future to present a compelling reason for new status or visa and associated benefits.


 Yes, you may continue study at GSU if you are in terminated status. You may also be admitted to GSU in terminated status. However, you will not qualify for any benefits of F1 status, such as CPT, OPT, on campus employment, GRA’s, waivers or GSU funded scholarships, issuance of a Social Security number or a Georgia Driver’s License in terminated status.


No. If you are out of status you are not eligible for any of the benefits related to F-1 status.