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INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS COMPLEX

INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS COMPLEX

Immigration
Maintaining your visa status.

Leave of Absence 

SDSU allows degree-seeking students to take an Academic Leave of Absence for up to 4 semesters. However, as a student on an F or J visa, you cannot maintain your immigration status while taking a Leave of Absence. If you have a question after reading this information, please contact the ISC.

 


Before Taking a Leave of Absence

Before you request a Leave of Absence, it is important to consider the following:

  • If your SEVIS record (I-20) is terminated, you cannot remain in the U.S. during the semester of your Leave of Absence.
  • If your Leave of Absence is for a documentable medical reason, you can be authorized for a Reduced Course Load based on a medical condition and your SEVIS record will remain Active. Please read more about a medical Reduced Course Load and discuss this with an International Student Advisor at the ISC before requesting a Leave of Absence.
  • If your absence from the U.S. is 5 months or less (between semesters of enrollment), the ISC will end your SEVIS immigration record and your SEVIS number should remain the same for your return to the U.S.
  • If your absence from the U.S. is more than 5 months (between semesters of enrollment), the ISC will issue you a new I-20 with a new SEVIS number for your re-entry to the U.S. You will have to pay the SEVIS fee for the new SEVIS number.
  • If your absence from the U.S. is more than 5 months (between semesters of enrollment), you will be required to study a minimum of one academic year (two semesters) after re-entering the U.S. before being eligible for practical training (both CPT and OPT). 
  • When returning to the U.S. after a Leave of Absence, you cannot re-enter more than 30 days before the new semester will begin.

How to Take a Leave of Absence

If you would like to take a Leave of Absence, you must:

  1. Meet with an International Student Advisor at the ISC via an appointment.
  2. Complete the ISC's online Leave of Absence (for Immigration) Request Form before the new semester begins.
    • For students who fail to notify the ISC that they are taking a leave of absence, their SEVIS immigration record will be terminated and the I-20 will become invalid.
  3. Notify the SDSU Registrar's Office of the Academic Leave of Absence by "applying" for the Leave of Absence in your SDSU Webportal for the semester that you will not enroll in SDSU classes.
    • If you will enroll in 1 or more classes in your home country, then this step is not necessary.
    • If you are not able to "apply" for a Leave of Absence in your Webportal, contact the Office of the Registrar for eligibility requirements. 
    • Please also read the Registrar's webpage on an Academic Leave of Absence.

How to Return From a Leave of Absence

If you would like to return from a Leave of Absence, you must: 

  1. Check your SDSU WebPortal for registration holds for the term in which you will study and get them removed.
  2. Complete the ISC's online Leave of Absence: Return Request Form and upload the required forms approximately 6 to 8 weeks before the date you plan to re-enter the U.S., or if you will apply for a new F1 visa, approximately 6 to 8 weeks before your visa appointment.
    • Students returning from a short-term Leave of Absence (5 months or less between semesters of enrollment) will need to upload a copy of your flight ticket or confirmation of your departure from the U.S. and a screenshot from your WebPortal of the Registration screen which shows all holds have been removed for the term you plan to return. 
    • Students returning from a long-term Leave of Absence (more than 5 months between semesters of enrollment) will need to upload a copy of your current passport, a completed Financial Statement Form, a Bank Statement/Proof of Funds that is less than 6 months old, and a screenshot from your WebPortal of the Registration screen which shows all holds have been removed for the term you plan to return. The Financial Statement Form can be found on the ISC's Forms webpage.
  3. Schedule your visa appointment if your F1 visa expired and you need to apply for a new one.
  4. Receive your new I-20 from the ISC, if applicable.
    • Students returning from a short-term Leave of Absence whose SEVIS records can be reactivated will be able to use their current I-20 if it has a valid travel signature on Page 2. If you need a new travel signature, you can request this when completing the ISC's online Leave of Absence: Return Request Form.
    • Students returning from a long-term Leave of Absence will need to pay the SEVIS fee for the new SEVIS number on their initial I-20. If applying for a new visa, this must be done before the visa appointment.
  5. Buy your plane ticket.
    • Students returning from a Leave of Absence can re-enter the U.S. up to 30 days before the new semester will begin.

 

INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS COMPLEX