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F-1 Reinstatement vs. Travel and Re-entry Comparison Chart

An F-1 student in the U.S. who fails to maintain their student status has two choices if they endeavor to regain their student status: 

1) Apply for Reinstatement of student status; or 2) Travel abroad, then re-enter the U.S. in a valid student status.  

The Reinstatement process, which takes place while the student remains in the U.S., has certain advantages, but departing the U.S. and re-entering may be preferred depending on the circumstances. 

F-1 Reinstatement vs. Travel and Re-entry Comparison Chart

Reinstatement in the U.S. Travel and Re-entry

Advantages
  • Can continue studying while the Reinstatement is pending 
  • If the Reinstatement is approved, the student applicant is eligible for work authorization without waiting for one academic year 
  • If the Reinstatement is denied, the possibility to request reconsideration of the denial exists. 
  • Depending on the timing, an F-1 student can sometimes still travel to obtain a visa even after Reinstatement has been denied

 

  • If completed properly, this is typically a faster method to regain status.

 

 

 

 

Disadvantages
  • Usually takes 3-5 months to receive an answer as to whether Reinstatement is granted 
  • Employment and travel are not authorized while Reinstatement request is pending 
  • Those that have worked without authorization are not qualified

 

  • Travel Expenses
  • Time involved in traveling may interrupt studies
  • A new visa interview and application are required if the current visa is expired 
  • Administrative delays in visa issuance are a possibility 
  • No appeal is possible if the visa is refused 
  • Must typically regain student status for one full academic year after reentry prior to earning eligibility for off-campus employment

  

Choosing Between Reinstatement in the U.S. and Reentry travel

Each option carries risk.  If the reinstatement application is denied, the student loses their student status hopes in the short term and is required to depart the U.S. immediately.  If a student that departs the U.S. and seeks reentry is denied a visa or admission to the U.S. at a port of entry, they may face both current and additional future barriers to reentry in the future.

F-1 students that believe they may be out of status should speak to their academic institution’s DSO immediately.  In particularly complicated cases, the assistance of a competent immigration attorney should be obtained.

 

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