Unlawful presence

Students who fail to maintain F-1 or J-1 status may choose to apply for reinstatement to lawful status while remaining in the U.S. or re-establish F-1 status by travel and re-entry to the U.S. with a new initial I-20 for readmission and a new F-1 Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) record. Reinstatement to or readmission in F-1 status may be granted at the discretion of the U.S. federal government. Please see our  page ‘Guidelines on Maintaining Status‘ for details on how to maintain your status.

Please contact OGS immediately if you have failed to maintain F-1 or J-1 status so that you can review your options and timely take action with an OGS advisor!

Failure to apply for reinstatement of status in a timely manner can result in the accrual of unlawful presence in the U.S., which may lead to the loss of future immigration benefits, including the ability to return to the U.S. for a period of time. Accruing unlawful presence for more than 180 days, but less than 1 year may trigger a 3-year bar to readmission to the U.S. An unlawful presence of more than 1 year may trigger a 10-year bar of readmission to the U.S.

For further information please visit the USCIS Policy Memorandum about: Accrual of Unlawful Presence and F, J, and M Nonimmigrants!

Filing for reinstatement

A timely filed (within 5 months from the date of the violation of status) reinstatement application with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) suspends the accrual of unlawful presence.

If a student files an untimely (more than 5 months from the date of the violation of status) reinstatement application and it is denied by the U.S. federal government, the accrual of unlawful presence will be counted from the day after the status violation.

If USCIS approves either a timely or untimely filed reinstatement, the entire counting of unlawful presence arising from the status violation that was the subject of the reinstatement application is erased. If reinstatement of F-1 status is approved by the U.S. federal government, eligibility to previously accrued benefits will also be restored.

If a student chooses to re-establish F-1 status by travel and the re-entry is successful, the eligibility clock for benefits such as Curricular Practical Training (CPT) or Optional Practical Training (OPT) will start over.

To correct your visa status through reinstatement, students must obtain a reinstatement I-20 from the Office of Global Services (OGS) and file an application for reinstatement with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Not all students who are out of status are eligible to go through reinstatement; to learn if you are eligible for reinstatement, or more information about how to file for reinstatement, please schedule an appointment with an OGS advisor by calling 617-373-2310 or visiting our front desk at 405 Ell Hall.