» Authorized Leave of Absence

F-1 international students who wish to take a break from your studies for one semester or more must report to ISSS and request a leave of absence.  

If you report a leave of absence to your DSO and are approved, your SEVIS record will be terminated due to “authorized early withdrawal.”  You must depart the country within 15 days of the termination date.

Leave of Absence Less than 5 Months:

You may be eligible for a reactivation of your current SEVIS I-20 record. ISSS will submit the reactivation request to SEVIS and SEVIS will either approve or deny the request. Reactivation allows you to maintain your OPT/CPT eligibility and use the same I-20. You must contact ISSS at least one month before you plan to return. We cannot request reactivation more than 60 days before the return semester begins.

Leave of Absence Longer than 5 Months:

You must contact ISSS to request a new I-20 with a new SEVIS number at least 30 days before returning to the U.S. You will have to follow the requirements for an “initial” I-20:  Pay the SEVIS fee again, cannot enter USA more than 30 days in advance of start date on I-20, provide new financial statements.  If your F-1 visa is unexpired, DHS usually considers this F-1 visa valid; however, to be safe, you should contact your nearest consulate and ask if you are required to apply for a new F-1 visa.