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Keep Your F1 Status

Losing your F1 status could lead to arrest and deportation by U.S. immigration officials as well as denial of other visa requests in the future.

During new international student orientation, you will learn what you must do to maintain your F1 status. The International Admissions Office sends out regular email reminders, so check your TCC email regularly.

The International Admissions Office wants to help in any way we can, but it is your responsibility to maintain F1 status.

Common visa status violations

To make sure you keep your visa status, do not do any of the following:

  • Work without authorization from the International Admissions Office/USCIS
  • Drop/withdraw from classes without authorization from the International Admissions Office
  • Fail to extend the I-20 if you do not graduate on time
  • Have very poor academic performance, such as failing all classes in a semester or being placed on academic suspension
  • Fail to report changes of address to the International Admissions Office within 10 days
  • Fail to transfer to another school, depart the United States, apply for OPT training post-completion, or apply for another visa category within 60 days of completing studies at TCC
  • Fail to report a change in employment status, if you are on OPT
  • Commit a crime that results in a conviction

How do I reinstate my visa?

If you have been out of status for more than 5 months, you need to show compelling reasons for not applying sooner, such as medical emergencies.

Incomplete reinstatement applications will not be processed. We reserve the right to recommend against reinstating an F1 student.

If you have lost your F1 status, you must:

  1. Gather and complete the following forms and documents:
    • Completed USCIS Form I-539 for reinstatement to F1 status (Link will open in a new window)
    • Check or money order for the I-539 filing fee
    • Copy of each of these: 
    • Evidence of financial support through bank statements, bank letters, financial records, etc. Financial support must meet current estimates of attendance as shown on the Financial Statement Form (PDF).Listen
    • Letter from you addressed to USCIS stating your reason for being out of status explaining how it resulted from circumstances beyond your control. Evidence of your reasoning should be included.
  2. Contact International Admissions to request a reinstatement appointment with the Principal or Designated School Official (P/DSO). You will be required to submit your evidence of financial support, your letter to USCIS, and evidence for reason of violation status to International Admissions at the time you request an appointment.
  3. Have your documents reviewed by the P/DSO. The P/DSO will review your reinstatement documents during the appointment, verify that you are enrolled full-time at the College, and issue you a letter of recommendation and new I-20 requesting reinstatement.
  4. Mail your application packet to USCIS.
    • It is your responsibility to mail the packet. It is highly recommended your documents be sent by certified or priority mail, and that you have a tracking number. The packet must be received by USCIS within 30 days of the new I-20 being issued.
    • USCIS should issue a receipt within 4 weeks. Once you receive this notice you should provide a copy to International Admissions. You can use the receipt to check your status online at the USCIS website (Link will open in a new window).
  5. Maintain full-time enrollment at the College, and follow all rules and regulations of an F1 status.

Review our reinstatement of status checklist (PDF)Listen to make sure you have everything completed.

When will I know if my visa has been reinstated?

Current USCIS processing times for reinstatement applications range from 10-14 months. In the meantime you cannot travel out of the United States, and you must maintain full-time enrollment at TCC.

Sometimes USCIS requests more information about your reinstatement. If this happens you should thoroughly review the letter requesting more information and respond immediately. Failure to respond may result in USCIS denying your reinstatement.

If your F1 status is approved, we will notify you immediately.

If your request is denied, we will also notify you immediately. The International Admissions Office can discuss the denial and your options. You will be required to leave the United States as soon as possible, and you will be in danger of arrest and deportation. It is important that you make arrangements to leave the United States as soon as possible after a reinstatement application has been denied. You do have the option to consult a board certified U.S. immigration attorney to discuss your situation.

The TCC International Admissions Office is not responsible for reinstatement decisions made by the United States government.

Updated July 22, 2020