What is the major difference between the two options?

Students who are reinstated continue in their previous F-1 status.

Students who choose travel and reentry are considered initial status students. This is most important when considering eligibility for Optional Practical Training or Curricular Practical Training. Students who reenter using a new I-20 will be required to complete one academic year before becoming eligible to apply for off-campus employment.

What are the costs associated with each option?

Reinstatement costs $290 (***Effective December 23, 2016, the application fee will increase to $370.00). Travel and reentry costs $200 for F-1 students (SEVIS fee), plus any expenses incurred for travel and visa applications.

Which option is the least risky?

Each option has its risks. If your application for reinstatement is denied, you will be required to depart the U.S. immediately. If you are denied re-entry at the border, you may be required to return home immediately from the port of entry.

May I continue to study while my application for reinstatement is pending?

Yes, you must continue to study in order to maintain your F-1 status.

May I continue to work on-campus while my application for reinstatement is pending?

No. Once it is determined that you have violated your student status, you must stop working immediately.

How long will the reinstatement process take?

Reinstatement applications take approximately 6 months to 1 year to process.

What are the benefits of applying for a reinstatement in the US?

You will not risk being separated from your spouse/child if they are in the United States with you. Also, the process is generally less expensive ($290.00 application fee, but no plane fare or visa application fees). If the reinstatement is approved, you would be reinstated "nunc pro tunc", as though you had never been out of status. You would immediately be able to apply for off-campus work permission [such as OPT], as long as you had completed at least one academic year prior to violating your status.

What are the disadvantages of applying for a reinstatement in the US?

An application for a reinstatement can take months. While you should attend classes, you will not be able to engage in ANY on (including assistantships) or off-campus employment. If the application is denied, you will not have any valid non-immigrant status in the U.S. You will be required to leave the U. S. on very short notice, possibly causing an interruption in your program of study at an inconvenient or academically disadvantageous time