Absence from the United States

If a student plans to withdraw from class and leave the U.S. for an extended length of time, they must see a DSO in the Office of International Engagement before making travel arrangements, withdrawing, registering or not registering for classes. Depending on the amount of time the student will be gone, the procedure for exiting and reentering the country will vary.

Authorized Early Withdrawal

  1. Once the decision has been made to withdraw from classes, make an appointment with a DSO to receive Authorized Early Withdrawal. We will terminate your I-20 in SEVIS under favorable conditions.
  2. After we have terminated your I-20, you can withdraw from your classes through the Office of the Registrar. Be sure to cancel any meal plan and housing assignment through Housing and Residence Life. You may be subject to a lease buy-out fee and you may still be charged for your meal plan.
  3. You have 15 days to leave the country once your I-20 has been terminated.

Returning to the U.S.

Returning Less than 5 Months after Authorized Early Withdrawal

If you have been out of the country less than 5 months, the process for return is rather simple.

  1. Purchase your plane ticket to return to the U.S. Your arrival should be no sooner than 30 days before the start of the new session.
  2. Send a copy of your flight itinerary to a DSO. We will request a datafix to reactivate your I-20. Once this has been approved by ICE, we will send you a new I-20. This will be within 30 days before your arrival. Click here to arrange shipment details, if you want us to ship your I-20 to your home country.
  3. Return to the U.S. using your new I-20 and your old visa (if it has not expired).
  4. If your plans change and you stay out of the United States for more than 5 months, you will need to pay a new SEVIS fee and apply for a new visa. See below for more information.

Returning after 5 Months of Absence from the U.S.

Once you have been out of the United States for more than 5 months, for any reason, you are required to receive a new I-20, pay a new SEVIS fee and apply for a new visa.

  1. The student will contact International Engagement as soon as plans have been formed for re-entry to the United States. When applying for readmission, allow enough time to allow for applying for a student visa, as it will be required to reenter the United States.
  2. The student will submit the readmission application and a new financial statement less than 6 months old.
  3. International Engagement will create a new SEVIS record and issue a new I-20 which will have a new SEVIS number.
  4. The student must pay a new SEVIS fee and obtain a new visa in their passport—even if the previous visa has not expired.
  5. When the student returns to the U.S., he or she will be considered “in-status” and must enroll for the next available semester.

Note: The student will be required to complete 9 months in F-1 status before becoming eligible to apply for off-campus work authorization or OPT. The nine month period will begin at the time of re-entry.

Keep Learning

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Maintaining Student Immigration Status