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Leave of Absence

If you are taking a leave of absence or withdrawing from your studies, you must notify ISSS before interrupting your studies. If you fail to notify our office, your SEVIS record will be terminated for failure to enroll, which could have serious consequences if you wish to visit, study or work in the U.S. in the future.

Definitions

Authorized Early Withdrawal (AEW). The termination (often temporary) of a SEVIS record of a student taking a pre-approved leave of absence.

Status. Your status is the official U.S. government designation and authorization of your stay in the U.S. as a non-immigrant student.

SEVIS. SEVIS is a web-accessible database that collects, tracks, and monitors information regarding exchange visitors, international students and scholars who enter the U.S. on F, M or J visas. SEVIS is managed by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Termination. The termination of a SEVIS record invalidates your F-1 status. Terminations are a result of a status violation(s).

Documents to be submitted

Authorized Early Withdrawal Form

Flight itinerary (at minimum, you must submit your departing flight information. You will need to submit returning flight information before you return).

Process

Note: You must continue to maintain status until your AEW is approved. This includes registering for a full course-load.

Before finalizing your travel plans, take note of these important rules regarding AEW:

  1. You cannot return more than 30 days prior to the start of the next available term. For example, if the start date of the next available term is January 17. The earliest you can enter the U.S. is December 18. Because of slow government processing times, we recommend booking your return flight no earlier than 25 days prior to the start of the term. In the example above, that date would be December 23. Additionally, take into consideration your local living and academic situation when booking a return flight. ISSS is not responsible for lack of foresight in student planning.
  2. If you are outside of the U.S. for more than five months, you must have a new I-20 and visa to return. Additionally, you must pay the SEVIS fee again.
  3. You will not be permitted to return if you have a balance on your student account.

Submit the Authorized Early Withdrawal Form. After submitting this form, your SEVIS record will be terminated for authorized early withdrawal. This termination (often temporary) will not adversely affect your immigration record. The exact date of the termination will be based on the date you indicate on this form. You must depart the country within 15 days of the termination for authorized early withdrawal.

Note: F-1 students are not eligible for CPT, OPT, and other F-1 benefits until they have completed two semesters (in aggregate) of full-time enrollment.

Frequently Asked Questions

Will I have trouble returning to the U.S. to resume study?

Students who abide by F-1 regulations and follow ISSS procedures have little trouble returning.

If you stay outside of the U.S. for more than five months, you will need a new I-20 and visa to return. To issue a new I-20, financial documentation issued within the past six months must be submitted to ISSS. You must also pay the SEVIS fee again. For some students, this creates certain challenges. If possible, try to time your leave of absence so you do not exceed the five month mark.

How is the the date I indicate on the form and the date of my departure related?

You can request an AEW date before your actual departure date; however, your departure date must be within 15 days of the requested AEW date. For example, if you request an AEW date of September 1, you must depart the U.S. no later than September 15. You must continue to maintain status until your AEW is approved. In the previous example, the student would be expected to maintain status through August 31.