Academic Leave of Absence

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:

  • The Slutzker Center will terminate* your SEVIS record for “authorized early withdrawal" and you will have 15 days to depart the U.S.
    * SEVIS flags all records in terminated status regardless of the reason for the termination. When entering the U.S., a student with a flagged record is typically sent to "secondary inspection" (a more thorough screening) at the U.S. Port of Entry.  Notify the Slutzker Center if this occurs and a request will be made to have that flag removed.
  • Once you exit the U.S., you must submit a copy of your passport ID page and the page that has the home country entry stamp to the Slutzker Center to confirm your departure.  E-mail us at or fax to 315-443-3091 with document copies.  Please write “Exited U.S. on LOA” as the subject line on your e-mail or fax.


To Resume Studies at SU:

  • Follow the readmission instructions in order to be readmitted into your academic program.
  • Once the Slutzker Center receives notification that you have been readmitted, you will receive a new initial I-20 or DS-2019 for entry to the U.S.
  • You will have to pay the SEVIS I-901 fee again.  Following Department of State guidance, the Slutzker Center recommends you also obtain a new student visa (even if your current visa is valid) as you may be denied entry to the U.S. on your prior student visa.


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.