Immigration regulations require that students maintain continuous full-time enrollment during required terms in order to maintain F-1 or J-1 student status. If you take a leave of absence, and thus are not a registered student, your SEVIS record will be terminated for “authorized early withdrawal” and your F-1/J-1 status will end.
Unless you apply for a change of status or transfer, you cannot remain in the U.S. beyond 15 days of filing for a Leave of Absence (except if authorized for a medical Leave of Absence). Failure to file a Leave of Absence request is considered to be unauthorized withdrawal, which can have a negative impact on your immigration record.
For a detailed list of questions and answers relating to "Leave of Absence" policies at SU, please click here.
In order to take an authorized Leave of Absence, you must:
Once Your Leave of Absence is Authorized by the University:
To Resume Studies at SU:
Impact of Taking a Leave of Absence on F-1 Practical Training Eligibility
Students returning from a Leave of Absence enter the U.S. on a new, initial I-20. For this reason, they must complete another full academic year in F-1 status before they are eligible for Curricular Practical Training (CPT) and Optional Practical Training (OPT). If you plan to apply for CPT or OPT, you must be enrolled as a full-time student for at least 2 semesters prior to your anticipated CPT/OPT start date.