Maintaining Status

While studying in the United States, it is imperative to maintain your F-1 student visa status. Review the guidelines below for more information.


Registration information is posted online prior to each registration period. Students can search the open courses schedule by term. Current students can register for classes in person, by fax or online through myWilmU. New students will register for courses after New Student Orientation with the assistance of a staff member.

International students are required to maintain and complete a full course of study each semester while attending Wilmington University. A full course of study consists of 12 credits per semester for undergraduate students and 9 credits per semester for graduate students. International students can take ONE online course per semester.

International students who are in the last semester of their program need only take those classes required to complete the program. Please contact your DSO at before you begin your last semester.

Academic Issues

All international students are responsible for making satisfactory progress toward degree completion. Thus, all international students must work collectively with the DSO and academic advisors or program coordinators.

Maintaining Your Grade Point Average (GPA)

Dropping below the minimum GPA for your degree level can result in academic probation or suspension and can negatively affect your student visa status. If you are having trouble maintaining your GPA, please contact your DSO immediately.

Grades That May Affect Your Status

Grades of FA (Failure due to absences), NA (Failure to withdraw from a course), and I (Incomplete grades) result in no credit for the course and can cause students to drop below a full course load and result in the loss of F-1 visa status.


Unauthorized employment is a violation of your status and results in the termination of your I-20 with Wilmington University. Please see the section on Employment for more information about Employment Options.

Falling out of Status (Reinstatement Procedures)

Any student who fails to maintain lawful F-1 Student Visa status and wishes to continue studying at Wilmington University must speak to a DSO from International Affairs first to discuss all options. In many cases, filing for reinstatement is not the best option to reestablish status.

  • depart the United States and return on a new I-20, or
  • petition United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for reinstatement to F-1 status.
    • you must meet criteria set forth by USCIS federal regulation 8 CFR 214.2(f)(16), which states that the student:

      • Has not been out of status for more than 5 months at the time of filing the request for reinstatement (or the failure to file within the 5 month period was the result of exceptional circumstances and that the student filed the request for reinstatement as promptly as possible under these exceptional circumstances
      • Does not have a record of repeated or willful violations of [USCIS] regulations
      • Is currently pursuing, or intending to pursue, a full course of study in the immediate future at the school which issued the Form I-20
      • Has not engaged in unauthorized employment
      • Is not deportable on any ground other than section 237(a)(1)(B) or (C)(i) of the Act
      • Establishes to the satisfaction of the [USCIS], in detail showing, either that
        • The violation of status resulted from circumstances beyond the student’s control. Such circumstances might include serious injury or illness, closure of the institution, a natural disaster, or inadvertence, oversight, or neglect on the part of the DSO, but do not include instances where a pattern of violations or where a willful failure on the part of the student resulted in the need for reinstatement
        • Or, the violation relates to a reduction in the student’s course load that would have been within a DSO’s power to authorize, and that failure to approve reinstatement would result in extreme hardship to the student

The Reinstatement Process



Your DSO in International Affairs at Wilmington University will answer questions about the reinstatement process, but it is the responsibility of the student to submit all required documents and accurately complete all forms. If you do not meet the above eligibility requirements, it is in your best interest to consult a qualified immigration attorney.

Students who meet the conditions for reinstatement should submit the following items to USCIS:

    • Completed USCIS Form I-539
    • Personal check or money order for $455 payable to the US Department of Homeland Security. This fee covers both the I-539 petition and the required biometric fees.
    • Cover letter from you requesting reinstatement to F-1 status and explaining your circumstances. Your letter should explain clearly and concisely how the violation of F-1 status resulted from circumstances beyond your control or how the failure to be reinstated would result in extreme hardship. Attach any additional supporting documents.
    • Photocopy of all previous I-20 form(s)
    • Photocopy of MOST RECENT 3 months financial support documents and affidavit of support
    • Photocopy of your passport photo page—include any other pages that contain the expiration date, any extensions, or any biographical information.
    • Photocopy of your most recent visa (stamp), used to enter the United States
    • Photocopy of MOST RECENT I-94
    • Photocopy of transcript and course registration (available on myWilmU)
    • New SEVIS I-20 (issued by Wilmington University DSO after all other requirements are met)
    • Letter from the DSO

After compiling and completing all documentation, please photocopy and retain the entire reinstatement application package prior to mailing it to the USCIS Vermont Service Center:

USCIS Vermont Service Center
ATTN: I-539
75 Lower Welden Street
St. Albans, VT 05479

Please note that the decision to reinstate you to lawful F-1 status is entirely up to USCIS. Further, reinstatement can take up to 12 months or more, and you are not eligible for any F-1 status benefits (e.g. driver’s license renewal, OPT or CPT practical training or on-campus employment) until you are approved for reinstatement.

Also note: You will need to complete two semesters of full time F-1 study after being reinstated in order to be eligible for any work benefit (except on-campus employment).

Application Approved

If your application is approved, USCIS will return your I-20 to you with an endorsement, and your F-1 status resumes.

Application Denied

If your application is denied, you will receive a denial notice. At this time, you have thirty (30) days to file a motion to reopen your case. Wilmington University does not help you file this motion – you should consult a reputable and qualified immigration attorney. Please be advised that “unlawful presence” begins to accumulate after you are denied reinstatement. If you remain in U.S. for more than 180 days, but less than one (1) year, after denial, you may be barred from reentering the country for three (3) years. If you remain in the country for more than a year, you may be barred from entering the country for ten (10) years.