Legal Status

Documents Required

International students are normally admitted to the US for "Duration of Status" (D/S).This means that they are allowed to remain in the US for as long as they "maintain legal student status," NOT for the length of time listed on their visa or I-20/DS-2019 form.The information below lists the documents that students MUST have while they are residing in the US to remain legally present. Students should make copies of each of these documents and keep them in a safe place separate from the originals in case they are lost or stolen.



  • Must  be valid for 6 months into the future upon entry into the US, to work in the US and should remain valid at all times during student's stay.
  • If a student has been issued a Travel Document in Lieu of a Passport by the government of the country of which they are a resident, the information above, regarding passports, applies to Travel Documents.


I-20 & DS-2019 - "Certificate of Eligibility”

  • To enter the US and each time students travel abroad and return, they must present their I-20 (for F-1 students) or DS-2019 (for J-1 students) to the immigration officials at the port of entry.
  • For most UNM students, the I-20 or DS-2019 is issued by the university through the Office of International Admissions or the Global Education Office (GEO). Some J-1 students have documents issued by an outside agency.
  • Students should keep all of these and any other immigration documents for your records even if they get new ones in the future.

NOTE: If any of the information on these documents changes, students must come to GEO immediately to apply for a new document. Note that the expiration date on the I-20 or DS-2019 is just an estimate. For F-1 students, permission to stay in the US ends 60 days from the date they complete the last requirement for their degree. For J-1 students, permission to stay ends within 30 days of completion of the last requirement. If students fail to follow all the rules of legal student status, their stay expires on the day the violation of status occurs.


I-94 Departure Record

  • This is the document that authorizes non-immigrants to be in the US as a student (F-1 or J-1) for a specified period of time, for the specified program of study, at the institution specified on the I-20/DS-2019.
  • After entering the U.S., the I-94 can be accessed and printed anytime at the I-94 website by selecting "GET MOST RECENT I-94" and entering passport information.
  • In addition to the class of admission (e.g., F-1 or J-1), the I-94 contains the date of entrance into the U.S. and the date of expiration of permission to stay.
  • For F-1 and J-1 visa holders, the expiration date should be written as "D/S" (duration of status), which implies the date of program completion (not always the same date as graduation).
  • The I-94 must be presented when applying for a Social Security number and a driver’s license or state ID. Each time students re-enter the US, they should print a new I-94.

NOTE: If students fail to follow all the rules of legal student status, their stay expires on the day the violation occurs, even if their I-94 and I-20 or DS-2019 are still valid.


Entry visa

  • Only Canadian citizens do not need a visa to enter the U.S.
  • Students must present a valid SEVIS form I-20 or DS-2019 from the school they will attend to the U.S. Consular officer to obtain their entry visa.
  • The visa may expire while a student is in the US; they cannot renew it in the U.S. and do not need to renew it while they are here (it is permissible to be in the U.S. on an expired visa); however, a new entry visa will be required if the original expires and they travel out of the U.S. and then wish to re-enter.
  • Students may be able to travel to and return from Canada, Mexico, and adjacent islands (except Cuba) without a valid visa if they will be staying there less than 30 days (check with a GEO advisor for current regulations).

NOTE: The visa does not indicate how long students are permitted to stay in the U.S. Permission to stay ends once a student completes their program of study (plus grace period) or when they fail to “maintain legal student status.”


Rules for Status


  • Attend the school whose name appears on the I-20 or DS-2019 - in some cases, the DS-2019 may be from a different organization.
  • Provide an updated local address within 10 days of any change (notify GEO in person or via email and we notify DHS).
  • Maintain registration as a full-time student throughout every Fall and Spring semester. Summer is considered students' annual vacation unless they begin their program in summer. International students must COMPLETE each semester with a full-time course load. Full-time means:
    Undergraduate students = 12 credit hours minimum to keep legal student status (15 credit hours to keep an Amigo scholarship).Graduate students: 9 credit hours minimum (or 6 credits with an assistantship).
  • Keep the "certificate of eligibility" (I-20 or DS-2019 form) correct and valid at all times and apply for extensions of stay at least one month before the document expires; see an advisor for a new I-20/DS-2019 if any information changes.
  • Maintain a valid passport throughout one's stay in the US. A passport must be valid for six months into the future to enter the US, and students must bring updated passports to GEO immediately so that the new information can be reported.
  • Complete necessary "immigration transfer procedures" if changing from one school to another in the US (even if a student completed the program at the prior school); contact an international advisor for details.
  • Observe the “grace period” upon completion of studies. Students in F-1 status have 60 days and students in J-1 status have 30 days from the end of their program to do one of the following things:
    • Leave the US, or
    • Get a new I-20 or DS-2019 for a new program or school and enroll in the next available semester, or
    • Apply for off-campus work authorization (OPT for F-1, Academic training for J-1). Because of application deadlines and other restrictions, students wanting to apply must speak with a GEO advisor before completing their programs in order to get this benefit, or
    • Apply for a change to another immigration status.


  • WORK OFF CAMPUS without written authorization from an international advisor in advance (all off-campus work authorizations must appear on the I-20 or DS-2019 form).
  • WORK ON CAMPUS more than 20 hours per week while school is in session during the Fall and Spring semesters.
  • Take a leave of absence, withdraw from classes, or drop below the required number of credits without FIRST checking with an international advisor in GEO; students who terminate their program or otherwise fall out of legal status before completing do not have a grace period to leave the US, they must leave immediately!

NOTE: NO STUDENT may drop below their minimum number of credits except under extremely limited circumstances that must be authorized in advance by an international student advisor. Grades that do NOT count toward the full-time minimum include:

  • W, WP, or WF: These grades are “withdrawals” and will be assigned by professors if students do not attend class.
  • Grade option of Audit: This is a non-graded course which allows students to sit in on the class without doing the work.
  • More than 3 credit hours of online courses; while students are permitted to take more online courses, only 3 credits can be counted toward full-time.

Other Legal Requirements

  • Once a student has completed or terminated their program, or have failed to “maintain legal student status,” they can no longer legally enter the U.S. with their I-20 or DS-2019 form, and the staff of GEO can no longer sign those forms. (This means that students should NOT plan to travel out of and return to the U.S. with their current I-20/DS-2019 after they have finished their program).
  • All international students are required to complete and submit U.S. tax forms to the federal government every year regardless of whether or not they earned any money in the U.S.
  • All students are required by UNM policy to have health insurance that covers them during their stay. J-1 students are also required by the US federal government to have health insurance that meets specific requirements. 

Extending Documents

The "certificate of eligibility" (I-20 or DS-2019 form) must be kept correct and valid at all times. Students must apply for extensions of stay at least one month before the document expires.


Conditions and Limitations

Students may apply for an extension of their I-20/DS-2019 if:

  1. The expected program end date on the I-20 or DS-2019 has not passed,
  2. They have continuously maintained lawful F-1 or J-1 student status, and
  3. The delay was caused by compelling medical or academic reasons (e.g. change of major or research topic, or unexpected research problems).

Delays caused by academic probation or suspension are not permitted reasons.

If a student does not meet the requirements for an extension listed above, they may need to apply for "reinstatement" to lawful F-1 or J-1 status. In this case, immediate consultation with the international advisor is necessary.


How to Apply for an Extension

Read and complete the extension paperwork from this handout.

Applicants will need to complete the student section (Section A) and their academic advisor will need to complete and sign the advisor section (Section B). Students will upload this form under the upload documents section in


Proof of Financial Support

Applicants must provide proof of financial support to cover the remaining time they will need to complete their program or one year, whichever is longer. Students will upload this financial proof in the upload documents section in      

Funding amounts for grads.

Funding amounts for undergrads.

If a student needs fewer than full-time hours to complete their program, they only need to show tuition for the credits they need to complete. They also need to show approximately $1,300 per month for living expenses.

*For example, a PhD student who has completed all requirements except the dissertation would need to show only $700 per semester in tuition (cost of 6 dissertation hours) plus living expenses for each month of the extension. If they have dependents, they will need to show additional living expenses for them ($6,000 for a  spouse, $4,000 for each child).

For financial proof, they may use personal funds, such as a bank statement or their current assistantship contract (they can use this ONLY if their advisor indicates that their assistantship will continue on page 2 of the extension form). If they have funds from another source, GEO will need a letter of support from that source, as well as supporting financial documents, such as bank letters or salary statements showing that the funds are available.

GEO will notify you by email when the new I-20/DS-2019 is ready. 

If a student is working on-campus, their employer will want to see their updated I-20/DS-2019 with the extended completion date. For assistantships, they must give it to Graduate Studies (Humanities Bldg, Room 107).  For UNM Student Employment, they must give it to the Student Employment Office.

REMEMBER! Students should keep ALL I-20s/DS-2019s given to them during their studies.
They may need them if they apply for any future immigration benefits.

Changing Status



A student or scholar may need to/want to change immigration status for the following reasons:

  • If the primary purpose or activity for which they are in the U.S. changes, their immigration status should also change (e.g., they were here to work full-time on an H-1B visa or be a dependent on an F-2 visa and now wish to become a full-time degree-seeking student). Note that dependents in F-2 status are only permitted to study part-time as degree students; they CANNOT study full-time in a degree program without first being approved for a change to student status (F-1 or J-1). Visitors in B1/B2 status are not allowed to study full-time or in degree programs at all.
  • If an individual is here on a dependent visa (e.g., F-2, J-2, H-4, etc.) and the principal visa holder (F-1, J-1, H-1, etc.) leaves the U.S. for more than a brief vacation or changes their visa status, the dependent also must leave the U.S. or be approved for a change of status BEFORE they can lawfully begin or continue studies.
  • If a dependent child reaches the age of 21, they are no longer permitted to remain on a dependent visa. To remain in the U.S., the dependent must change immigration status, and the change must be approved before their 21st birthday.
  • If an individual wants to receive benefits specific to student status (F-1 /J-1), such as on-campus employment or practical training work authorization, they must change status before receiving the benefit.  For some employment benefits, students must be enrolled lawfully in full-time status for more than 9 months, so it may be important to change status early.


Two ways to change immigration status

Option 1

The individual can leave the US, apply for an entry visa with the appropriate documentation for the new status at a U.S. consulate abroad and reenter the U.S.  If they have ever violated the terms of their immigration status or if they have an application for permanent residency filed on their behalf, they should probably NOT choose this option; they should speak with an international advisor or an attorney about the consequences. Otherwise, this option is the shortest and most certain way to make the change at this time. 


Option 2

The individual can file an application for a change of non-immigrant status with USCIS (as long as they are currently legally present in the U.S.). This option is currently taking anywhere from 10 to 12 months, and if approved, their status will be changed, but they will NOT get a new visa. They should meet with an international advisor or attorney as soon as possible to find out if this option will work for their situation.


Conditions & Limitations

  • An applicant must currently be in the US in legal immigration status to be eligible to change to another status and MUST be able to maintain that status until the change is approved by USCIS, even though the processing time cannot be guaranteed!
  • At the time the change of status is being reviewed by a USCIS adjudicator, an applicant must be able to be enrolled as a full-time student in the next 30 days or the change of status will be denied.
  • If an individual is applying to change status from B visitor, they must wait to begin their degree program until the change of status is approved (they can only be enrolled for avocational courses part-time in this status and should speak with a GEO advisor before they apply; B visitors are often denied the change to F-1 or J-1 student.)
  • If applying to change from F-2 dependent status to F-1 or J-1 student status, an applicant cannot enroll full-time until the change of status is approved by USCIS (they should speak with an international advisor before they apply).
  • If an individual has been in the U.S. previously in J-1 or J-2 status and were subject to the two-year home residency requirement, they may be ineligible to change status with USCIS (they may have to leave the U.S. to make the change or may not be allowed to change at all). They should check with an international advisor.
  • If an individual is here on a J visa and considering changing to the J-1 Research Scholar/Professor category, they may be subject to a rule referred to as the “12-month bar after previous J participation.” Essentially, applicants for J-1 Research Scholar/Professor category are not eligible if they have been physically present in any J status (including J-2 status) for all or part of the 12 month period immediately preceding the date of program. There are several exceptions to this rule.The two most common exceptions are those who have been in J status for less than 6 months or those in J status as a Short Term Scholar. If the J visa holder was already in J-1 Research Scholar status in the last 24 months, they also would not be eligible for that status.


Application Process

STEP 1: Be Informed

Applicants should read this entire handout thoroughly and carefully and meet with an international advisor to discuss processing times and options BEFORE applying!

STEP 2: Pay the SEVIS fee

If an individual is in the United States applying for a change of status to F-1 or J-1, they are subject to this fee and must pay it or their application will not be processed. They should include proof of payment with their application.  If USCIS cannot verify their payment they will request proof of payment, which will cause delays in the processing of the application.
Payment is not required if the applicant is requesting a change of status to F-2 or J-2.

STEP 3: Write a Cover Letter. The letter should:
    • Explain what the application is for (e.g. change from F-2 to F-1 status).

    • Explain why they are applying (if they entered the US in B visitor status, they should speak with an international advisor first).

    • Explain how they have been supporting themselves in their current immigration status.

    • List all of the contents of the application in order.


STEP 4: Read and Complete Form I-539 and form G-1145

(These forms are at: and

    • Applicants should make absolutely sure that they are able to receive mail at the address they indicate for at least one year into the future (they can use GEO's address if necessary).

    • They must complete all questions on the form and attach all required documents (see below and speak with an international advisor if unsure).


STEP 5: Include the Following Items in the application:
    • A $370 check payable to “Department of Homeland Security”; noted as the application fee

    • A $85 check payable to “Department of Homeland Security”, noted as the biometric fee

    • If the correct fees are not included the application will be rejected.

    • Cover Letter (see step 3 above)

    • Completed Forms I-539 and G-1145 (see step 4 above)

    • Original documents necessary for the new status (e.g., the new I-20 for those changing to F-1)

    • Financial information showing proof of necessary funds to cover all expenses (for students this includes all tuition, health insurance and living expenses); proof of funding could include bank statements or salary statements or a letter from an academic department stating the amount of an assistantship/scholarship the applicant will be receiving (if an individual other than the applicant will pay their expenses, they should include a letter from that person stating that they will pay, in addition to their bank statement or other document mentioned above)

    • Copy of I-94 (front and back if it is a paper I-94)

    • Copy of all previous immigration documents such as passport, visa and old I-20s/DS-2019s (front and back)

    • Proof of SEVIS Payment (if applicable)

    • If applying for a change to or from a dependent status (e.g., F-2, J-2, H-4, etc.) applicant will also need to include copies of:

      1. The principal visa holder’s I-94 (spouse or parent)
      2. Their passport, visa, I-20 or other legal immigration documents (front and back)
      3. Proof of marriage (if spouse is the principal visa holder)


STEP 6: Copy the Entire Application Packet and Mail To USCIS:

When the entire application has been completed, it is advised to have a GEO advisor review it. The applicant should then make a complete copy for their files, organize the materials as neatly as possible, put them in a large mailing envelop and send it to the appropriate USCIS Regional Service Center having jurisdiction over their place of residence (the instructions to form I-539 contain all address information). For those living in New Mexico the address is:

For U.S. Postal Service Deliveries
Attn: Change of Status (I-539)
PO Box 660166
Dallas, TX  75266
For express mail and courier deliveries:
Attn: I-539, USCIS
2501 S. State Highway 121 Business
Suite 400
Lewisville, TX 75067


If sending an application via USPS, we recommend sending the application U.S. certified mail “return-receipt requested” so that there is proof of delivery.


STEP 7: Processing
  • The applicant should receive a “Notice of Action”, or receipt notice within 6 weeks of mailing the application. This notice will contain a receipt number that allows them to check on the status of their application. 
  • USCIS may contact them to request that they appear at a local USCIS office to have their biometrics recorded. If required to schedule this appointment, they will ask applicant to swear under penalty of perjury that all the information they have provided in the application is true and accurate.
  • USCIS may send a Request for Evidence (RFE) and give a limited time frame to respond with additional evidence; if applying for an F-1 or J-1 student visa and the start date on the I-20/DS-2019 has passed, they will likely send an RFE asking for a new document that the applicant can request from GEO.
  • If an applicant is denied the change of status, they may have limited time to leave the U.S. They should speak to a GEO advisor as soon as they get any new information on their case from USCIS.
  • If the change of status is approved, the approval notice will contain a new I-94. The I-94 shows the number, class/type and validity period ("D/S”, means “Duration of Status”).

If changing to F-1 or J-1 status with UNM, applicants are required to come to GEO as soon as they receive any notice. If approved, GEO must register them in the SEVIS system immediately for them to maintain lawful status.  The next time that they leave the U.S., they will still need to get a new visa to reenter in the new F or J student immigration status.


Other Important Information

  • Timing is extremely important and timeliness of the application is essential! Applicants should start the process as early as possible.


  • Applicants cannot accept any benefits of the new status until the change is approved.

  • Once the change of status has been approved, the activities allowed by the old status can no longer be carried out if they are prohibited by the new status.

Timing of an application for change of status is extremely important; USCIS has recently been processing these applications in 10 to 12 months at the Vermont Service Center (the center that processes New Mexico applications). So if an applicant does not have a green card application pending, leaving the US is probably a better option for them. Be aware that individuals cannot accept any benefits of the new status until the change is approved. For example, if changing to F-1 status, one cannot accept any kind of student financial assistantship (or other on-campus work) from the university until this change has been approved. Also, once the change of status has been approved, one can no longer carry out the activities allowed by the old status if they are prohibited in the new status (e.g., if changing from an H-1 visa to an F-1 visa, one can no longer continue to work for their H-1 employer once the change to F-1 is approved). They should consult an international advisor and/or an attorney for any questions and for the latest processing time estimates, and remember the timeliness of the application is essential!

Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) FEE  Applicants can pay the SEVIS fee in one of three ways:

(1)     Through the Internet at by using a credit card and completing the online Form I-901. They will need to print the computer-generated receipt and include it with their application. Please note that SEVP is unable to accept credit card payments on behalf of students from Ghana, Gambia, Nigeria, Cameroon or Kenya.

(2)     Through Western Union Quick Pay.  This option is available in any country where Western Union offers its Quick Pay service. This service allows one to pay the SEVIS fee electronically and directly to the Department of Homeland Security in local currency. The receipt they will obtain at the end of the transaction will be their proof of payment. Information about paying by Western Union can be found at:

(3)     Through the mail by submitting a completed Form I-901 and a check or money order drawn from a U.S. bank.The mailing address can be found at: The payment confirmation can be printed from the FMJ fee website to serve as proof of payment.

More detailed information on the fee payment process can be found at the SEVIS website at Payment of the SEVIS fee is not required if the applicant is requesting a change of status to a F-2 or J-2.




Violations of F-1 status may include but are not limited to:

  • Dropping below full-time enrollment without prior approval from an international advisor.
  • Failure to complete an immigration transfer in a timely manner, or engaging in illegal employment.

Need Help?

  • Read this page thoroughly and then make an appointment to see an international advisor at GEO immediately to discuss your options for regaining lawful immigration status.
  • GEO can help you apply to regain legal immigration status so that you can enjoy all of the benefits of being an F-1 student in the U.S.


Once a student or scholar has violated their status, GEO can no longer sign their documents for travel, approve work authorization, or issue any letter or document on their behalf verifying their legal immigration status.


Conditions & Limitations

 A student may be reinstated to F-1 status according to 8 CFR § 214.2(f) (16) (i) if:

  • The student has not been out of status for more than 5 months prior to filing the request for reinstatement (unless they can show that there were exceptional circumstances that prevented them from filing during the 5-month period immediately following the violation of status).

  • The student has not engaged in unauthorized employment.

  • The student does not have a record of repeated violations.

  • The student is currently pursuing or intends to pursue a full course of study in the next available term.

  • The student is not deportable on any grounds other than the status violation for which reinstatement is being requested.

  • The student establishes that the status violation resulted from either: a) circumstances beyond their control, or b) a reduction in course load that could have been authorized by an advisor and that failure to approve reinstatement would result in extreme hardship to them.


Alternatives to Reinstatement 

  • If an individual is not eligible for reinstatement, or as an alternative to this process, they may have the option to regain legal status by leaving the U.S. and reentering the U.S. in a new period of initial F-1 status. A GEO International Advisor can discuss this option with them. Students who want to apply for off-campus work permission in the next year do not want to choose this option.

  • If an individual is going to exercise this option instead of applying for a reinstatement, they will need to get an Initial Form I-20 and pay the SEVIS I-901 fee again. They will also lose credit for any time accumulated towards qualification for benefits, such as optional or curricular practical training. If their visa is valid, they will not need a new visa if returning to the United States within 5 months of the exit date. Because they have a terminated record for failing to maintain status, they may be denied re-entry to the United States under section 212(a) (6)(G) of the Immigration and Nationality Act. So this alternative also has significant risks.


Consequences of Denial 

The denial of a reinstatement application can have serious consequences, so applicants MUST understand these consequences before they choose to apply.

If an application is denied, the following can happen:

    1. The applicant's visa will be canceled.

    2. For the rest of their life, the individual may only apply for non-immigrant U.S. visas in their country of citizenship or legal permanent residence.

    3. They will begin accumulating days of “unlawful presence” in the United States from the date of the denial. After 180 days of unlawful presence, they are subject to a 3-year bar from returning to the U.S. After one year of unlawful presence, the bar from entering the US is increased to 10 years.


Requirements while a Reinstatement is Pending 

  1. Applicants are required to maintain a full course of study while a reinstatement is pending, or, if they are just beginning studies at UNM, they are required to enroll in and maintain a full course of study during the first possible semester. If the reinstatement is denied, they must leave the U.S. immediately even if it means that they will forfeit tuition paid to UNM.

  2. If an applicant is a continuing student at UNM and currently has on-campus employment (either an assistantship or student employment), they may not be able to continue in this employment and should speak with an international advisor for details.

  3. Any authorized off-campus work is automatically canceled when an individual falls out of status; no further off-campus work can be authorized until the reinstatement is approved.


Out of Status for more than 5 months

If a student is out of status for more than 5 months from the date of the status violation, there is a presumption that the student is ineligible for reinstatement unless they can prove that there were exceptional circumstances that prevented filing within the 5-month period, and that they filed the request for reinstatement as soon as possible given those exceptional circumstances


Application Process 



STEP 1: Complete forms G-1145 and I-539 - These forms can be found at and, respectively. Part 2 item 1 of the Form I-539 must indicate that the individual is applying for reinstatement. The word "REINSTATEMENT" should also be written in red ink at the top of the form to further distinguish it from other uses of Form I-539. Full instructions can be found at: If the applicant has F-2 dependents, they should be included on the application using the form SUPPLEMENT-1. They should check with the advisor for which address to use if they will not be using a New Mexico address or if they might move while the application is in process.


STEP 2: An applicant must write a detailed letter explaining why they failed to maintain their legal F-1 status. Remember that they must convince USCIS that they fell out of status due to circumstances beyond their control, or that a reduction in course load could have been authorized by an advisor and that failure to approve reinstatement would result in extreme hardship to them. If they have been out of status for more than five months they must also convince USCIS that there were exceptional circumstances that prevented them from filing during the 5-month period immediately following the violation of status.


STEP 3: Applicants should bring proof of finances for the remainder of their program (bank statement or assistantship information), their passport, I-94, all previously issued I-20s, the completed I-539, G-1145 and letter of explanation to an appointment with a GEO international advisor. The advisor will review all of the options and consequences of applying for a reinstatement with them. If they decide to proceed with the reinstatement application, the advisor will print a reinstatement I-20, write a letter regarding the reinstatement, have them sign an acknowledgement of consequences, and ask them to return for a second appointment once they have assembled all of the necessary materials to send to USCIS.


STEP 4: The applicant must assemble all of the following items for the reinstatement application (in this order):

    1. Check or money order payable to USCIS in the amount of $290,

    2. Original I-94 (required),

    3. Cover letter with explanation of why status violation was beyond their control and listing all of the items in the application (this list),

    4. G-1145 completed with accurate information,

    5. I-539 completed in full with “REINSTATEMENT” written in red letters across the top,

    6. Advisor Letter,

    7. Original NEW SEVIS I-20 marked “Reinstatement” in item 3,

    8. Photocopies of passport and visa,

    9. Photocopies of all previous I-20s,

    10. Proof of sufficient funding for the program,

    11. If they have not previously paid the SEVIS (I-901) fee, or if they have been out of status for longer than 5 months, they will be required to pay it and include a receipt of payment in this application. Information about this fee is available at: (they can ask an advisor for details). They will need their SEVIS ID number and the UNM school code for this process (this information is on the Reinstatement I-20).


STEP 5: The applicant should make copies of the entire application packet and mail it via certified mail “return receipt requested” or express mail carrier (so that they have a receipt of filing) to:


US Mail and Certified Mail Address:
PO Box 660166
Dallas, TX 75266

Express/ Courier Mail Address:
2501 South State Highway 121 Business
Suite 400
Lewisville, TX 75067


They should receive a text message and an email when the application is received with the G-1145. Within 4–6 weeks of sending the application to the USCIS, they should get a paper “notice of action” stating that USCIS has received the application. If they do not get this letter within 6 weeks of mailing their application, they should  contact an advisor for more information. The case number in the top left corner of this receipt notice can be used to call or look on the USCIS websiteto check on their case. It can take 2-6 months before a decision is made by USCIS regarding their reinstatement and before they receive any notification.

STEP 6: If USCIS approves the reinstatement application, they will stamp the I-20 and return it to the applicant along with their I-797 Approval Notice. Once the applicant receives approval, they must bring these new documents to GEO. The GEO advisor will validate their record in the SEVIS system, copy their documents (the stamped I-20 and I-94) and can subsequently endorse their I-20 for travel or other student benefits.


A Note of Caution

If an individual is OUT OF STATUS they may not work on or off campus, including having research assistantships, graduate assistantships, or teaching assistantships.