Student Visa Reinstatement

When a student has lapsed his or her status, he or she must apply for a Student Visa Reinstatement by filing form I-539. This standard is stringent, it is recommended that a student hires legal counsel to help navigate the complicated system. The application may be granted if the student:

  1. Has not been out of status for more than 5 months at the time of filing the request for reinstatement (or demonstrates that the failure to file within the 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. Does not have a record of repeated or willful violations of the Service regulations
  3. Is currently pursuing, or intends to pursue, a full course of study at the school which issued the Form I-20M-N or SEVIS Form I-20
  4. Has not engaged in unlawful employment
  5. Is not deportable on any ground other than INA § 237(a)(1)(B) or (C)(i); and
  6. Establishes to the satisfaction of the Service, by a detailed showing, either that:
    1. 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 where a willful failure on the part of the student resulted in the need for reinstatement; or
    2. 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 Service reinstates the student, the Service shall endorse the student’s copy of Form I-20 to indicate that the student has been reinstated and return the form to the student. If the Form I-20 is from a non-SEVIS school, the school copy will be forwarded to the school. If the Form I-20 is from a SEVIS school, the adjudicating officer will update SEVIS to reflect the Service’s decision. In either case, if the Service does not reinstate the student, he or she may not appeal the decision. The district director will send notification to the school of the decision.

If you have any question regarding this visa petition, please call the office to set up a valuable consultation.