One week into her senior year, Natasha Reifenberg headed to an academic health conference in El Salvador, presenting a policy brief based in research she had been involved in for the last two years. An opportunity usually reserved for distinguished academics, the trip was just one of many highlights in an outstanding undergraduate career that includes internships at the Global Fund for Women and United Nations Development Program and independent research opportunities centered around women’s issues and rights. Reifenberg attributes her accomplishments to her education in Notre Dame’s College of Arts and Letters — particularly her philosophy major.
Reinstatement to F-1 Status
F-1 students who violate the terms of their F-1 status are considered to be illegally present in the United States and may be subject to deportation. In certain circumstances, students who violate status may request a reinstatement of that status from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service. Students who are ineligible for reinstatement or for whom reinstatement is not advisable may be compelled to depart the U.S. Students who do not wish to apply for reinstatement within the U.S. may also choose to re-establish F-1 status by departing and re-entering the U.S. These students may be eligible to obtain a new I-20 from Notre Dame for initial attendance, pay a new SEVIS fee, obtain a new F-1 visa from a U.S. consulate abroad and return to the U.S. under a new SEVIS ID. However, the U.S. consulate may consider a previous violation of status when evaluating an applicant’s eligibility for a visa and may deny the new visa on those grounds.
Students who wish to apply for a reinstatement of F-1 status within the U.S. must file an application with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service within five (5) months of the violation of immigration status. Processing times may vary, but applications for reinstatement may take up to five (5) months or longer. Students who are in violation of status who have filed or will file for reinstatement are permitted to continue to enroll at Notre Dame until the application is adjudicated by USCIS. However, because employment is a benefit of F-1 status, students who have violated immigration status are not eligible for employment for practical training, graduate assistantships or other campus employment at Notre Dame until the reinstatement is approved by USCIS. The denial of a reinstatement will result in the applicant being considered unlawfully present in the U.S. from the date of the denial by USCIS. Students for whom a reinstatement is denied will be compelled to withdraw from Notre Dame and will be advised to depart the U.S. immediately.
An I-20 form issued by Notre Dame is required for a student to apply for reinstatement of F-1 status. The I-20 will be issued only after the student has submitted the Request for a New I-20 form with the appropriate documentation and has met with an advisor in ISSA. With this new I-20, the student must then file an application with USCIS for reinstatement through the Notre Dame ISSA. The application must include the following documents:
- Form I-539 Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status marked for reinstatement
- I-539 filing fee (currently $290.00 U.S.D)
- Cover letter from the student/applicant that includes a description of the circumstances of the violation of status
- A statement that the violation resulted from circumstances beyond the student’s control and that a denial of reinstatement would result in extreme hardship
- A statement that the student is pursuing or will pursue a full course of study
- A statement that the student has not been employed without authorization
- A statement that the student is not in removal (deportation) proceedings
- *These statements may be contained in a single letter from the applicant to USCIS.
- ORIGINAL I-20 form issued for reinstatement-signed by DSO and by student
- ORIGINAL I-94 card (if you have one) OR I-94E (You can go online to print your I-94 record by visiting: https://i94.cbp.dhs.gov/I94/request.html)
- COPY of updated financial support documentation-issued within last six months
- COPIES of all I-20’s ever issued to the student
- COPY of the student’s passport
- COPY of the student’s visa
- COPIES of transcripts or course registration indicating current and previous enrollment status
- COPIES of additional documentation prescribed by ISSA - may include letter(s) from faculty, etc.
Applications for student reinstatement must be reviewed by ISSA. Students who are found to be in violation of status will not be permitted to enroll at Notre Dame unless an application for reinstatement is filed through ISSA.
ISSA will submit the reinstatement application directly to USCIS.
When Francesco Tassi arrived at Notre Dame, he was sure he would major in finance. But a lecture on refugees set him on a different path — one that led him to travel through Italy for three months to study refugee integration firsthand. Tassi, who was born in Italy and moved to the United States in third grade, traveled widely in high school and spent time living with host families in several countries. Those experiences sparked a passion for learning about and understanding cultures.