SUCCESSFUL F-1 ACADEMIC STUDENT VISA REINSTATEMENT

• Petitioner: Mr. Wong
• Occupation: Student
• Nationality: Chinese
• Applying for: Reinstatement of F-1 Academic Student Visa [Form I-539]
• Challenges:
 o Nearly five months between the notification of Mr. Wong of his student status termination  and his application for reinstatement
 o Did not attend school for three quarters
 o Did not have a stable income to support himself
 o Reason for termination was because of failure to take a test

On November 14, 2014 Mr. Wong*, a student at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD), received notice that he had his F-1 visa revoked as a result of not taking a written examination he was required to take and his student status was terminated. The university did not help Mr. Wong even though it was their procedural error. Distressed, Mr. Wong reached out to Tsang & Associates and drove up from San Diego to meet with our team. We assisted Mr. Wong in filing an I-539 Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status on April 4, 2015, proving that:

  1. Termination of Mr. Wong’s student status was out of his control
  2. Mr. Wong planned to pursue a full course of study
  3. Mr. Wong had not been engaged in any unauthorized employment
  4. Mr. Wong had no grounds for deportation

Ultimately, Mr. Wong’s reinstatement was approved on January 27, 2016.

Keys to Success

When Mr. Wong came to us at Tsang & Associates, we believed strongly in his case and worked hard to prove the basis for his reinstatement. According to USCIS regulations, in order to be considered for reinstatement, the student first has to prove that he or she applied for reinstatement within five months of being notified of the termination of student status. Mr. Wong received notification on November 14, 2014 and therefore had to apply prior to April 14, 2015. We helped him file his application on April 4, 2015 just before the deadline. In order to establish the basis for reinstatement, the law states that the applicant must:
  • Show that the cause for termination of student status was out of his or her control
  • Be currently or planning to pursue a full course of study
  • Have not been engaged in any unauthorized work
  • Possess no grounds for deportation under United States immigration laws

Above all, the most important requirement that we had to satisfy was that the situation enshrouding Mr. Wong was the result of circumstances outside of his control. This was extremely challenging because the basis for termination was his failure to take a specific test, not for example an illness or natural disaster. However, we were confident that this main point of contention would be met. We were able to show through first a personal affidavit by Mr. Wong that he missed the examination as a result of a procedural error of which he was not informed and that if he was informed of the proper procedure, he would have ensured that he would not have missed the examination. Thus we proved that the circumstances that resulted in Mr. Wong’s failure was out of his control.

Another challenge we faced in this case was showing that Mr. Wong was “currently pursuing, or intending to pursue, a full course of study in the immediate future”; this was difficult as Mr. Wong had missed three quarters of school at the university, and thus did not qualify for a full course of study, determined as being 12 quarter hours for the academic year. In order to prove that there was intent for Mr. Wong of pursuing a full course of study in the immediate future, we first pointed to Mr. Wong’s recent completion of the written examination for which his visa was terminated and also to the fact that Mr. Wong applied for readmission to the university and was then accepted for reinstatement in March; he even enrolled in summer courses for 2015 and received a Form I-20 Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status from UCSD. In addition, we also wrote a sample affidavit for Mr. Wong, explaining his situation and his own personal intent to continue studying.

Another requirement we had to prove according to law was that Mr. Wong had not engaged in any unauthorized employment during his time without student status. This was a concern, as Mr. Wong had spent about five months without his student status and needed to sustain himself. However, we brought forth Mr. Wong’s financial statements during this time period which indicated that he indeed had sufficient funds to sustain him during this time. We showed through bank statements, that his mother had provided for him enough money to survive during this time.

After compiling all the evidence to back Mr. Wong’s position, we submitted his application to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services. However, we received a Request for Evidence (RFE) on September 22, 2015, asking for a letter from a school official detailing the circumstances and also more information on his ability to pay during his time here. In response, we requested a letter from the designated school official and also submitted transcripts and attendance records in order to further provide details regarding Mr. Wong’s failure to maintain status up to his reinstatement. Furthermore, we even composed a statement for his mother that stated that she provided around 19,000 dollars for Mr. Wong, intended for college tuition, living expenses, and unforeseen events; this was the basis for Mr. Wong’s ability to sustain himself during his time without student status. We submitted our response shortly after the next month in October.

Outcome

Mr. Wong’s F-1 reinstatement was approved on January 27, 2016, seven months after our initial submission. Mr. Wong was overjoyed that he could continue his studies at UCSD and pursue his career.

*Name has been changed to protect client identity.