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F-1 Reinstatement for an Indian Student in California

by JP Sarmiento on January 18, 2011

CASE: F-1 Reinstatement


LOCATION: Los Angeles, California

Our client came from India in 2009 to pursue his Master’s in Computer Science degree in California. Unfortunately, extreme and exceptional hardships related to his family caused him to drop a course in his third semester which caused him to fail to maintain his F-1 visa status.

There are many reasons why some F-1 students fall out of status. In limited circumstances, they could still apply for F-1 reinstatement if they meet the requirements. It starts by talking to the school’s international student immigration representative. Upon providing all the necessary documentation, your immigration advisor should issue you a new I-20 with a reinstatement endorsement.  Each school has its own guidelines on what you need to show. Typically you should explain the exceptional circumstances which led you to not maintain full-time courseload.

For the USCIS to grant reinstatement, the standards are as follows:

  • The student became out of status due to circumstances beyond the student’s control, or the student would suffer extreme hardship if not reinstated
  • The student intends to pursue full-time study
  •  No other grounds of removability (criminal cases, for example) apply to the student other than the overstay or status violation
  •  The student has not worked illegally off-campus
  •  The period being out of status is not more than five months, or there were exceptional circumstances for being out of status longer and the application was filed as soon as possible
  •  The student does not have a record of repeated immigration violations

In early September of 2010, our client contacted our office to do his F-1 reinstatement application. Our office promptly prepared his application with various supporting documents to demonstrate that he became out of status due to circumstances beyond his control and that he would suffer extreme hardship if not reinstated.  Moreover, our office explained that our client never had any status violations prior to this incident and never engaged in unauthorized employment.

On January 12, 2011, our office was notified by the USCIS that our client’s F-1 reinstatement is granted.  Now, our client has a chance to finish his Master’s Degree.


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