Absence From the US

If you travel outside the United States and return within five months, you may use your current I-20 to re-enter the United States and resume your studies at Syracuse University.  Your I-20 must have a valid travel signature on page 3.  Please review the travel instructions and attend a travel seminar before traveling.

If you are resuming your studies after taking a leave of absence, please follow the readmission instructions.

Five-month rule:

If you are going to be leaving the U.S. for more than five months, you must obtain a new I-20 from the Slutzker Center for International Services.

  • If you are resuming your studies after taking a leave of absence, please follow the readmission instructions.  After you have been readmitted, a new initial I-20, with a new SEVIS ID number, will be prepared for you.  You will need to be enrolled as a full-time student for at least one academic year after your return to be eligible for Practical Training (Curricular and Optional Practical Training).
  • If you are participating in an SU Abroad program, you are exempt from the five-month rule. In the middle of the semester that you are studying abroad (Fall or Spring), you will receive an updated I-20 with a special remark about the five-month rule exemption.*
  • If you are a graduate student and are conducting research abroad for your degree program, you are exempt from the five-month rule as long as you are registered as a full-time student during the academic year. Prior to your departure from the United States, please submit to the Slutzker Center a letter of explanation from your academic department which states that you will be conducting research outside the United States for your degree program and that you are expected to return to Syracuse University to complete the program.  When you are ready to return, please contact the Slutzker Center and request an updated I-20 with a special remark about the five-month rule exemption.*

* While you are outside the United States, you will need to maintain updated addresses in MySlice in order for your SEVIS record to remain valid.   It is especially important that your MySlice record include a CURRENT “local” US address.   Follow the instructions for updating your address in MySlice.