Enrolling at CU Louisville
- Transfer of SEVIS Records
- Deferment of Enrollment
- Initial I-20 and VISA Application
- Maintaining Your F-1 Status
- Falling Out of F-1 Status
- Regaining F-1 Status
- Re-instatement of F-1 Status Within the Country
- Travel and Re-entry
- Change of Status Application
- USCIS Denial of Change of Status Application
- Frequently Asked Questions on Re-instatement
Transfer of SEVIS Records
The Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) houses immigration information on international students attending Student and Exchange Visitor Programs (SEVP)-approved schools in the country for the Department of Homeland Security and its affiliates. With the student information in SEVIS, Form I-20 is generated for F-1 student who intends to enroll at a specific school. After enrolling at or graduation from a SEVP-approved school in the United States, if the student decides to move to another school, the SEVIS record is transferred from school A to school B.
Deferment of Enrollment
Students who wish to transfer from school A after enrollment for some time to Campbellsville University must register for classes at the next available term. Please note: If a student transfers SEVIS record in time for enrollment at a particular term at Campbellsville University, he or she cannot defer to another term. If student fails to enroll at the next available term, s/he is out of status.
Example: A student, who transfers SEVIS record in time for January term, cannot choose to attend in the March term. If this happens, s/he will be out of status.
Initial I-20 and VISA Application
An overseas student who intends to attend a SEVP-approved school in the United States such as Campbellsville University, after acceptance, F-1 student must be issued a Form I-20 after sending the necessary documents. Using Initial I-20 which has its SEVIS ID, student contacts the nearest U.S. Consulate in his or her home country to book appointment for visa interview.
Once issued F-1 visa, student would travel and enter the United States on Campbellsville University Initial I-20 and with F-1 visa issued for attendance at Campbellsville University.
Maintaining Your F-1 Status
Nonimmigrant students are responsible for maintaining their immigration status while in the United States. If a student does not maintain the terms of their nonimmigrant status, this can lead termination of SEVIS record and deportation from the United States as stated in INA § 237(a) (1) (C) (i).
To maintain F-1 status, a student must:
- Report to the DSO to have his or her SEVIS record registered promptly in SEVIS.
- Ensure that for the first entry into the United States for initial school attendance, the school listed on the visa and on the I-20 must match, which is the school the student must plan to attend.
- Pursue a “full course of study” at the school listed on the Form I-20 during every academic term, or unless approved under a specific exception, in advance, by the DSO. *At Campbellsville University, there are no official breaks, academic terms are structured back to back. At Campbellsville University, full course load per term at the graduate level is six credits.
- Make normal progress towards completing the course of study, by completing studies before the expiration of the program completion date on Form I-20.
- Keep Form I-20 valid by following proper procedures for change in educational levels or programs of study.
- Keep Form I-20 valid by following proper procedures for transfer of schools.
- Not engage in criminal activity.
- Abide by the F-1 grace period rules. (These grace periods include Admittance to the United States up to 30 days before the program start date listed on Form I-20. Remaining in the United States for up to 60 days beyond the completion of the program of study; and the completion date of any authorized post-completion optional practical training. An F-1 student who has been granted an Authorized Early Withdrawal by a DSO must depart the United States within 15 days (no later than 15 days) following the “Last Date to Attend Class” as listed on the Campbellsville University Withdrawal Form.
- Report a change of address to the DSO within 10 days of moving.
- Be authorized to work either on or off-campus. Employment must be specifically approved under the regulations at 8 CFR 214.2(f)(9) or § 214.2(f)(10)-(12) for Curricular Practical Training (CPT) and Optional Practical Training (OPT) respectively. (Please see sections relating to CPT and OPT for more information.)
- Abide by the aggregate unemployment rules while on post-completion OPT. (Please see the section relating to Optional Practical Training for more information.)
- Keep his or her passport valid for any travel outside of the United States.
Falling Out of F-1 Status
When F-1 student fails to maintain status, s/he would be out of status, meaning the student cannot enjoy the benefits under the status until the F-1 status is re-instated. At such time, the student’s SEVIS record is terminated.
Regaining F-1 Status
SEVIS record termination means the student is out of status. To regain F-1 status, two options are available to the student. S/he may be reinstated within the country through the process of reinstatement (See reinstatement) or through travel (out of the country) and re-entry (into the United States) on an Initial I-20 with a new SEVIS ID, which is a faster way to regain lost F-1 status.
Re-instatement to F-1 Status Within The Country
International student advisors are required to report certain violations of status to United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and the Department of State by terminating a student’s SEVIS record. A termination effectively ends your immigration status and your authorization to study in the United States. In some cases, you may be eligible to submit a petition to USCIS for reinstatement to lawful F-1 status.
Best Ways You Ensure You Stay in Status
- Always stay enrolled full time
- Contact your advisor in the Office of International Student Services (ISS) before you drop any courses
- Do not break any university rules or U.S. laws
- Only work with proper authorization
- Do not let your I-20 expire
Reasons for Termination of SEVIS Record Include:
- Unauthorized employment
- Unauthorized withdrawal from classes
- Unauthorized drop below full course of study
- Expulsion and suspension
- Failure to enroll in classes
In most cases, the termination of your SEVIS record means you must make plans to immediately depart from the United States. In other words, there is no grace period after termination. You must leave the country within 15 days.
If your SEVIS record is terminated and you wish to continue your studies at Campbellsville University, you have two options: travel outside the United States with a new I-20 or submit a reinstatement application to regain your status to USCIS.
Eligibility to Petition for Reinstatement
To be eligible for reinstatement, you must show USCIS that the violation of status was due to circumstances beyond your control. In cases of unauthorized employment and unauthorized drop below full-time enrollment, reinstatement petitions will generally be denied because they are usually due to willful actions on the student’s part.
Reinstatement is most appropriate for “technical” violations, such as:
- Failure to report your arrival at the start of your program
- Failure to apply for an extension of stay before your current program end date
- Failure to maintain required health insurance coverage (J-1 exchange visitors in particular)
Reinstatement petitions must be filed within five months of the termination of your SEVIS record. USCIS will not review reinstatement petitions submitted after the filing deadline has passed.
Please note that reinstatement is NOT an option if you have violated your status by working without the proper authorization.
Step 1 – Contact an international student advisor to discuss your eligibility for reinstatement.
We strongly recommend discussion with an advisor as soon as possible after you become aware of the violation to discuss reinstatement and the petition process.
Step 2 – ISS will issue a reinstatement I-20 to you once required documents, including, acceptance Letter and financial papers, among others have been received.
NOTE: ISS does NOT assist with the completion of re-instatement application. Students are advised to work with reputable immigration attorneys.
Step 3 – You may consult an attorney for guidance in the process of gathering required documentation before mailing them to USCIS.
- Form I-539 – Application to Extend/Change Non-Immigrant Status. Carefully review form and instructions.
- Personal check or money order for $370, made payable to U.S. Department of Homeland Security
- Current financial documentation covering expenses for duration of your program
- Official transcripts from all schools you have attended in the United States
- Photocopy of your passport ID page, including any extension or renewal pages
- Photocopy of your most recent U.S. visa * Printout of Form I-94 Arrival/Departure Record (https://i94.cbp.dhs.gov/I94/)
- In addition to the documentation above, you will need to write a letter to USCIS which covers the following points:
- Explanation of why you are out of status, specifying the violation.
- Explanation of why the violation occurred.
- Explanation of why you are requesting reinstatement, stating how not being reinstated will affect you.
- Statement confirming that you are pursuing or intending to pursue a full-course of study.
Step 4 – Mail I-539 and supporting documents to the USCIS Dallas Lockbox for processing.
USCIS P.O. Box 660166
Dallas, TX 75266
USPS, express mail and courier deliveries:
2501 S. State Highway 121 Business Suite 400
Lewisville, TX 75067
Status During Review of Petition
Reinstatement petitions may take several months to adjudicate. While the application is in process, you must continue to meet all enrollment and reporting requirements of your immigration status. You must remain in full-time status by taking full course load. You are disallowed from all on- or off-campus employment until the reinstatement request has been approved. We strongly recommend not traveling outside the United States while your petition is in process since USCIS may consider the application ‘abandoned’ and reject the request.
Status After Approval of Petition
If your petition is approved, USCIS will reinstate you to lawful immigration status and return your immigration documents to you. It is your responsibility to inform ISS of the USCIS’ decision for follow up actions. Your SEVIS record will be returned to Active” status, and the termination will be removed from your immigration record. You may resume on-campus employment and authorized off-campus employment once the reinstatement approval notice has been received.
Status After Denial of Petition
If your petition is denied, you are expected to leave the country immediately. There is no grace period after this.
Travel and Re-Entry
- Travel & Re-entry for the purpose of regaining the F-1 status, Campbellsville University will create a brand new SEVIS record and an Initial I-20 for you. This requires you to leave the United States on your old SEVIS record and re-enter the country on your new SEVIS record. You can do this by traveling out of the country in any fashion but most students chose to cross into either Mexico or Canada (with Canadian Visa) and then cross back into the United States.
- To cross the border, you must be required to pay the I-901 fee at https://fmjfee.com prior to completing Travel & Re-entry.
All previous study time that you have accrued on your old SEVIS record will be void, but any academic progress you have made, such as classes attended and grades earned, will still be valid. As such, you will be required to study in the United States for a minimum of two (2) terms before you will be eligible for CPT benefits.
Documents needed for border crossing are:
- A valid passport or travel document, unless exempt from the passport requirement.
- A valid F-1 visa (unless exempt from visa requirements)
- A Form I-20
- I-901 Fee Receipt
Customs and Border Protection (CBP) also recommends that students have with them:
- Evidence of financial resources
- Evidence of student status (recent tuition receipts, transcripts)
- Name and contact information for the school’s Designated School Official (DSO)
Students are advised to cross the border during university business hours so a DSO can be reached in case of emergency.
NOTE: Please consider your options and inform your DSO your option of choice for re-instatement. If you decide on travel and re-entry, you cannot cross the border prior to 30 days before the term start date.
Change of Status Application
In order to change status while in the United States from an H-1B Temporary Worker to dependent status (F-2), your F-1 spouse must be in the United States in valid F-1 status at the time you are requesting this change.
NOTE: If you are traveling outside of the U.S., you can accomplish the change by taking a dependent I-20 and obtain F-2 visa at a U.S. Consulate for re-entry to the U.S. All documents normally required for a visa will be required (i.e., valid passport, financial verification and proof of relationship to F-1 student i.e., marriage certificate).
PART #1: To contact ISS for assistance, send a Help Desk Ticket https://issrs.campbellsville.edu with the following documents:
- Form I-94
- Passport’s Biographical and Visa pages
- Financial verification up to $22,000. Additional $3,000 for each dependent
- Campbellsville University admissions letter
PART #2: The student must send the following documents to the lockbox
- Completed Form I-539 (https://www.uscis.gov/i-539) Carefully read the instructions
- A $370.00 check or money order made payable to Department of Homeland Security
- Copy of Form I-94 (https://i94.cbp.dhs.gov/I94/#/home choose “Get Most Recent I-94”)
- Copy of original Form I-20
- Photocopy of the data pages in your passport
- Financial verification
- *If “prospective student” is not stamped on your B-2 Visa, include a letter explaining why you are entitled to change to F-1 status
- *A copy of your marriage certificate (English translation required) if changing to F-2 or F-2 to F-1
- Photocopy of Form I-797 (H-1B approval notice)
- Photocopy of last pay stub or letter from the employer (These documents will help prove that you maintained your H-1B status and are eligible for a change of status
- You must pay the SEVIS I-901 fee of $200 prior to submitting your change of non-immigrant status application. (You can pay this fee on-line at http://www.fmjfee.com)
PART #3: Send the documents from PART #2 by certified mail to either:
For U.S. Postal Service (USPS) Deliveries:
PO Box 660166
Dallas, TX 75266
For Express Mail and Courier Deliveries:
USCIS ATTN: I-539
2501 S. State Hwy. 121 Business Suite 400
Lewisville, TX 75067
NOTE: It may take up to 6 months to receive a response from USCIS. If you have not received an answer after 4 months from the date the application was received by USCIS, speak with an ISS advisor. You can check your application status at http://www.uscis.gov/portal/site/uscis with your receipt number.
USCIS Denial of Clause of Status Application
If USCIS denies your application, be prepared to leave the United States when your current status expires.
*ISS does not directly assist students when completing an application for or preparing documents for submission with an application (Form I-539) to petition USCIS to change status to F-1 student status. ISS will issue I-20 for Change of Status (COS) to student after receiving required documents.
*Receiving an I-20 from CU for COS is NOT THE END OF THE PROCESS. YOU MUST COMPLETE THE FORM I-539 AND MAIL YOUR APPLICATION PACKET TO THE USCIS. Consult the USCIS we instructions pertaining to applying for COS. Also, seek the counsel of an Immigration Attorney. To locate an Immigration Attorney near you please consult the website for the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) by visiting http://www.aila.org/.
You can learn more about how to change status by visiting https://www.uscis.gov/i-539.
To receive an I-20 from ISS for COS you must respond to the following prompts:
Have you received an acceptance letter from CU? Yes/NO,
If No and you are seeking to change status to F-1 and are requesting Campbellsville University to issue you an I-20 for the purpose of submitting with your petition to USCIS, you must first be accepted into a program offered at Campbellsville University. If you are unsure of how to apply to Campbellsville University, you can submit a separate Help Desk Ticket with this request.
If YES, congratulations. Please contact your DSO as soon as possible and we will create the Change of Status I-20 and will work to process your request as quickly as possible.
Frequently Asked Questions on Reinstatement
What is the major difference between the two options?
Students who are re-instated within the country continue in their previous F-1 status. Students who choose travel and re-entry are considered initial status students. This is most important when considering eligibility for Optional Practical Training or Curricular Practical Training. Students who re-enter using a new I-20 are required to complete one academic year (two terms at Campbellsville University) before becoming eligible to apply for off-campus employment (CPT, OPT).
What are the costs associated with each option? Reinstatement in the U.S: USCIS charges an I-539 application fee https://www.uscis.gov/i-539
Travel and reentry: There is the $200 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 F-1 status while application with USCIS is pending.
May I continue to work on- or off-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 now take approximately four to six months to process.
Can I reenter from Canada or must I return to and reenter from my home country?
Reentry from Canada is fine; however, you must already have a valid visa to enter Canada, if needed. The Canadian Consulate will not issue an entry visa to students with “initial attendance” I-20s from other countries. For more information, contact your ISS advisor.