Leave of Absence

A leave of absence requires you to leave the US within 15 days of your request submission.
Your SEVIS record will be terminated for an Authorized Early Withdrawal.
Your current I-20 will no longer be valid for entry to the US.

It can be beneficial to take a leave of absence when you are unable to remain in a full course of study. Common reasons include:

  • Emergency situations outside the US (e.g. illness & death of friends or family members).
  • Non-emergency situations outside the US (e.g. weddings & other family obligations).
  • Medical scenarios that prevent you from attending class (It’s often better to recuperate in your home country).
  • Inability to enroll full-time due to academic planning issues.

Requesting leave

  • Go to the international student portal to request your leave of absence. From the date of your request, you will have 15 days to leave the US.
  • ISS will not withdraw you from courses. If you need to drop anything or withdraw, please see the Registrar’s drop and withdrawal pages.

How to return to the US

If you requested leave after the start of a quarter

  • At least 30 days before you intend to return, please read and follow the instructions on the returning student page. Note: You may need to plan 60 to 90 days ahead of time if your F-1 visa has expired.
  • You will be required to provide new financial documentation to request an I-20.
  • Your previous time in F-1 status will no longer count towards the minimum time required for practical training. Please keep in mind you will need to complete one academic year (3 quarters) to be eligible for both CPT and OPT.
  • You will receive an initial I-20, with a new SEVIS ID, to return to the US.

If you requested leave before the start of a quarter

  • At least 30 days before you intend to return, email uwbintl@uw.edu and ask for “Reactivation” of your SEVIS record.
  • Is only an option when:
    • You are returning within 5 months.
    • You are returning to the same program of study.
    • You have no registration holds.
    • You requested leave at the end of a quarter and left the US before the start of the next quarter.
    • You have an itinerary and can prove you will return to the US before the start of your returning quarter.
  • Reactivation of your SEVIS record allows you to use your previous time in F-1 status to count towards practical training.
  • You will receive a new I-20, with the same SEVIS ID as your previous I-20, to return to the US.