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Leave of Absence / Withdrawal

F-1 and J-1 student status is based on full-time enrollment each Fall and Spring semester.  You must work with an International Student Advisor in the Center for Global Education (CGE) if you need to take a semester off studying.  You must also talk to an International Student Advisor if you need to be less than full time.

The immigration processes depend on whether you are leaving during the semester or after the semester ends.  In all cases the process and paperwork related to your immigration status is in addition to – and separate from – any paperwork or notification that you may need to provide the university or your academic department.

If you fail to formally notify an ISS advisor in advance about your plans then your F-1 record may be terminated for “Failure to Enroll” or “Unauthorized Withdrawal”, which can have negative impact if you wish to visit, study, or work in the U.S. in the future.

If your leave of absence is due to suspension from Boise State University, or your record has been terminated for unauthorized employment or a similar reason, then you are expected to leave the US immediately after your immigration record is terminated because there is no grace period.  Please consult an ISS advisor if you have any questions about your situation.

Please also consult the Registrar’s website about the process of dropping courses and taking time off.

Registrar’s Website

Withdrawal During the Semester

Consult with an International Student Advisor at the CGE and complete the Leave of Absence form before dropping classes or filing your request to withdraw.

The timing of your notification to CGE can have a big impact on your immigration status. If filed properly, you may be eligible to remain in the U.S. for up to 15 days after you drop your courses.

Please note that it is important to continue attending classes if possible until you formally drop them from your schedule.

Leave of Absence Form

Withdrawal before 10th day

Complete the Leave of Absence form before the semester begins.  Your F-1 record will then be closed for an “Authorized Early Withdrawal”.  This allows you 15 additional days to remain in the US.  Please consult with an ISS advisor if you are requesting a leave of absence due to medical reasons, as you may be able to remain in the U.S. for treatment.

In most cases you cannot remain in the US during a leave of absence and you can’t work.  Taking time off can also affect your eligibility to apply for CPT and OPT work authorization.

Leave of Absence Form

Complete Withdrawal (CW)

A Complete Withdrawal (CW) is when you want to drop all your courses in a semester. If you are requesting a CW for a semester that has already finished then you must meet with an ISS advisor before filing the CW appeal with the Registrar’s Office. If you drop the courses without prior permission from an ISS Advisor then your F-1 immigration record may be terminated due to an unauthorized withdrawal, resulting in a requirement to leave the US immediately.

Medical Reasons

If you are withdrawing because of a medical condition then you may be eligible to remain in the US for medical treatment. An ISS advisor can help you know if that is an option in your case. You may need to submit additional paperwork from a US licensed Medical Doctor, Doctor of Osteopathy, or Clinical Licensed Psychologist as part of this process.

Returning to Study On Campus

Make sure you are eligible to enroll in classes.  Then complete the returning student I-20 request form and upload your new financial support documents.* In some cases we may request an updated degree plan.

You do not need to apply for a new F-1 visa unless your current visa has expired.  Contact your local US Embassy if you have visa questions.

Check in at the CGE before classes begin so that we can register your arrival with US Immigration.  Bring copies of your I-20, passport and visa to that check in.  You can enter the US up to 30 days before the new semester begins.

* If you were academically dismissed then you will need to work with International Admissions to return to Boise State University.

Request I-20