F-1 students who violate the conditions of their F-1 status are considered out-of-status and unlawfully present in the United States. Being out-of-status means that a student will no longer be eligible for benefits such as practical training, on-campus employment or transfer to another school. It also means that once the student travels outside the country they will be unable to re-enter the U.S. on their current I-20.
Under SEVIS, your Designated School Official is required by law to report your failure to maintain status to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS). In some cases, the SEVIS system has the capability to automatically terminate a student/record without DSO interaction. Termination of a record cannot be cancelled. NOTE: Dependents on F-2 status are automatically considered out of status when the F-1 student violates his/her status.
In some cases, you may be eligible to apply for reinstatement, a process which allows you to restore your status. If you are not eligible for reinstatement, you must leave the United States immediately. Failure to apply for reinstatement or return to your home country will result in the accrual of unlawful presence making you subject to arrest or deportation.
It is the responsibility of the student to maintain his/her immigration status. Your ADSO/DSO is available to assist you, but he/she is also responsible for ensuring the university’s compliance with immigration regulations concerning the enrollment of international students. It is critical for the student to report any potential problems to his/her ADSO/DSO as well as respond to any request made by the ADSO/DSO. Common violations include:
- Enrollment as a part-time student/Failure to enroll as a full-time student.
- Withdrawing without authorization.
- Taking a semester (other than summer) off from classes
- Not completing the transfer process within 15 days of transferring to GSW.
- Changing a major without requesting a new I-20
- Changing academic level without requesting a new I-20
- Remaining in the U.S. with an expired I-20.
- Failing to report a change of address within 10 days
- Failing to maintain Good Academic Standing.
- Working without authorization.
NOTE: If you are aware of a potential problem with your immigration status, please contact your ADSO/DSO before it becomes an actual problem. In general, your options to correct a situation become limited once a problem has developed. Please contact your ADSO/DSO anytime you have questions or concerns.
One option to regain status with the USCIS is to apply for reinstatement. Reinstatement is the submission of a reinstatement application to the USCIS District Office, where an officer will decide whether or not to reinstate the student based on the information provided in the application. The officer is looking for circumstances beyond the student’s control, which caused the student to lose his/her status. Students who are not granted reinstatement are required to return home immediately. Please be aware that there is some risk involved in the reinstatement process (i.e. you are not guaranteed approval).
NOTE: A student who has worked without work authorization is generally not eligible for reinstatement.
If you are out-of-status, please contact your ADSO/DSO to discuss your options. Your ADSO/DSO will provide you with the necessary forms/applications. You must apply for reinstatement within 5 months of your termination.
NOTE: A decision to reinstate an individual to F-1 student status is completely at the discretion of the USCIS. Georgia Southwestern State University Designated School Officials have no control over this matter what-so-ever. It is solely the responsibility of the student to maintain F-1 status. There is no appeal process for reinstatement decisions.