Leave of Absence
If you decide to take a temporary leave of absence from studies, either by canceling enrollment or withdrawing from classes, please make sure you first speak with an ISSS advisor in conjunction with your academic advisor/graduate advisor. Students that will not be enrolled for one semester will only need to submit ISSS’ Leave of Absence form. Students that plan to take an extended leave, more than one semester, should also submit the University’s Leave of Absence form to avoid having to apply for readmission. If the University’s LOA petition is denied, you will need to apply for readmission.
Students that receive ISSS approval to withdraw from classes will be given an ‘authorized withdrawal.’ An authorized withdrawal or termination event is reported to SEVIS but carries no negative impact on future student status. An authorized withdrawal allows the F-1 student a 15-day grace period to prepare to depart the U.S.
If you decide to cancel or not enroll in either fall/spring semester, notify ISSS by completing the ISSS LOA form.
Students that are not enrolled in one or more semesters and would like to return to their programs for fall or spring terms must be readmitted/or term activated for enrollment purposes. Please see the options below, depending on whether you will need a new SEVIS record (for absence more than five months) or SEVIS record reactivation for an absence of less than five months.
- Returning from a Leave of Absence of Less than 5 Months
- Process When Returning from a Leave of Absence of 5 Months or More
Returning from a Leave of Absence of Less than 5 Months
You will be asked to confirm that you have been outside the U.S. for no more than five months. The five-month period is designated by your last day of study at SJSU and ends on the start date of your first day of class upon your return. There cannot be more than 5 months between your last day of study and the start date of the semester in which you will return.
Contact ISSS via email 2-3 months before you plan to return to SJSU to inform us when you will return from your Leave of Absence.
Include the following in your email:
The date you departed from the U.S. and the date you intend to return.
The process of reactivating your SEVIS record can take several days to complete. We recommend that you plan to arrive no earlier than 2 weeks before the start date of the new semester.Note: You may not re-enter the U.S. in F-1 status during a semester in which you are not enrolled.
- Your flight itinerary verifying the date of your stated arrival.
- Completed I-20 Request Form (pdf).
- Expiration date of the signature on page 3 of your I-20. The signature is only valid for one year. If the signature is more than one year old on the day you plan to return; you will not be allowed to enter the U.S. Please inform the International Student Advising (ISA) staff if your I-20 signature will expire before your return date.
Upon receipt of all the information listed above, we will request to reactivate your SEVIS record. Reactivation requests can ONLY be made 60 days in advance of the semester start date. You will be notified via email once your SEVIS record has been reactivated.
Please be aware that reactivation of the SEVIS record can sometimes be a lengthy process and may not be effective. Although you may have met the conditions above for an I-20 reactivation, we may not necessarily be able to reactivate your current SEVIS record due to SEVIS functionality constraints.
You must check-in with ISSS within one week of your arrival. Please email email@example.com for instructions.
Please do not attempt to return to the United States until you have been notified that your SEVIS record is active. You may be denied re-entry.
Six Steps to Returning from a Leave of Absence of 5 Months or More
- Confirm that you have been outside the U.S. for more than 5 months. Calculate the five months from your date of departure from the U.S. and end on the first day of the start of classes. There must be more than 5 months between your date of departure and the start of the semester in which you will return.
- Email ISSS 2-3 months before you plan to return from your Leave of Absence. Tell us the date you departed from the U.S. and the date you intend to return. Note: You may not re-enter the U.S. in F-1 status during a semester in which you are not enrolled. The earliest you can re-enter the U.S. to resume studies is 30 days before the start of classes.
- Before returning to the U.S., you must receive a new I-20. To request the new I-20,
please provide the following:
- New financial documentation showing that you can cover the costs of your 1-year education at SJSU.
- Completed I-20 Request Form (pdf).
- Copy of the biographic page of your passport.
- Information regarding where we should send your I-20 and how you would like it mailed. You may choose an express courier to track your package. To have your I-20 sent via express courier, you must purchase a prepaid shipping label.
- After we have received all the documents listed above, it will take 2-3 weeks to create and provide your new I-20.
- Once you have received your new I-20, you must:
- Pay the SEVIS Fee. More information on how to pay the fee can be found here: Department of Homeland Security - Form I-901
- Apply for a new F-1 visa stamp.
Contact your academic advisor or the Registrar's Office to request your SJSU record be "term activated." This will allow you access to your student account.
Note: Your record must be "term activated" before you can register for classes.
- You must check in with ISSS within one week of your arrival. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org for instructions. You should also plan on attending the mandatory Global Spartan Welcome.