Out of Status / Visa Problems

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Out of Status

If you are in the United States and your I-20 is in Terminated or Completed status, you are out of status. This means that you are in the USA illegally.

ALPS works with some students on a case-by-case basis to help them regain F-1 status and continue their studies.

Reentry

Unless the reason for your termination was out of your control, such as a major sickness, a mistake by your school, or a natural disaster, then we recommend that you use reentry (leaving the US and re-entering with a new SEVIS number and ALPS I-20) to re-establish your F-1 visa status. If we decide to accept you, then you will get a new I-20 from ALPS and you can use it to re-enter the US via Canada or another country.

Exiting and re-entering the United States is an acceptable way to gain new initial status as an F-1 visa student. Students usually do not have any problem doing this, but it is possible that you will try to re-enter the United States and the border official will not allow you to re-enter. In this case, you would need to immediately go back to your home country.

Application Requirements for Reentry:

1. Application and application fee ($100)

2. Financial document

3. Transfer form (fill out the top part and submit it to the advisor at your current school).

4. Transcripts from every school that you attended in the US. (A transcript is a document that shows your grades and attendance–unofficial copies are OK).

5. I-20s from every school that you attended in the USA.

6. A copy of your passport, visa, and most recent entry stamp.

After you complete all the application requirements, you will be invited to meet with ALPS staff to get your new I-20, pay the SEVIS I-901 fee again, and learn more about the reentry process.

Reinstatement

If you feel that the circumstances for your going out of status were beyond your control (such as a major illness, a mistake by your school, or a natural disaster), you can attempt to regain F-1 status by applying for reinstatement.

ALPS will issue you an I-20 for reinstatement; however, this I-20 does not make you here legally. You must send the USCIS (US Citizenship and Immigration Services) your completed Form I-539 and supporting documents and pay the I-539 filing fee to ask the federal government to re-establish your legal F-1 status in the US.

Important Information about Reinstatement

Reinstatement applications can take a very long time to be adjudicated (as much as 6-12 months). While your application is pending, you must study at ALPS. You cannot leave the US and cannot transfer until the government adjudicates your application. If you leave the US during this time, you are abandoning your application.

You can find more detailed information about reinstatement on the Study in the States website.

Applying to ALPS as a Reinstatement Student

You will need the following things in order to apply to ALPS as a reinstatement student:

  • Application to ALPS and application fee ($100)
  • Photocopy of passport, visa, and most recent entry stamp
  • Financial document

After your application to ALPS is complete, you will be invited to meet with ALPS staff to discuss your reinstatement case. If you are accepted, ALPS staff will issue you an ALPS I-20 and assist you with the I-539 application.

Checklist for I-539 Application

  • Photocopy of passport and visa
  • I-539 application with “Reinstatement” written at the top of page 1
  • Payment for the filing fee
  • Copy of your most recent F-1 entry stamp
  • Most recent I-94 record
  • Copy of the bank statement / financial document you submitted for your ALPS I-20
  • Reinstatement I-20 from ALPS
  • Letter of Explanation to USCIS
  • Official transcript to show enrollment in ALPS Language School
  • Transcripts from previous schools if you think they will help your application

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