SEVIS Leave of Absence/Withdrawal
F-1/J-1 international students who wish to take a semester off during the academic year (fall and spring semesters) and not enroll in courses, or withdraw completely from UT, must receive authorization for a SEVIS Leave of Absence/Withdrawal from the International Programs Office prior to withdrawing or dropping classes.
Failure to submit the SEVIS request first will result in the negative termination of your visa status.
- If you plan to instead transfer to another US institution, you will instead need to submit the SEVIS Transfer Out request.
- If you need to take a leave of absence due to medical reasons, you may instead be eligible to submit a SEVIS Reduced Course Load (RCL) authorization request.
Leave of Absence/Withdrawal Requirements:
- Students must keep attending classes until they submit the SEVIS leave of Absence request to IPO.
- Students must not withdraw/drop their classes until they submit the SEVIS leave of Absence request to IPO.
- Students must be outside the U.S. during the leave of absence. If you are inside the US at the time of withdrawal, you must depart the US within 15 days of the withdrawal date.
- Students who withdraw from all of their classes in their first semester are NOT eligible for a leave of absence. They must either depart the US within 15 days of the withdrawal or request the transfer of their SEVIS record to another school in the US. Students who need to withdraw from their courses in their first semester must schedule an appointment with their International Student Advisor immediately to discuss next steps.
- Students with a scholarship or graduate assistantship should consult their financial aid advisor when considering taking a leave of absence to discuss whether the funding will be available upon return.
- Students who are not enrolled at UT for longer than two continuous semesters must apply for re-admission through the Admissions Office.
Application Instructions and Process
- Complete online SEVIS Leave of Absence/Withdrawal Request via your online profile in the Request & Document Center.
- After submitting SEVIS request, submit appropriate withdrawal request to request academic withdrawal from UT. The SEVIS request is for SEVIS immigration purposes ONLY. If you plan to return in a future semester, you may indicate that on the withdrawal forms.
- Your SEVIS record will terminated for "Authorized Early Withdrawal" according to your withdrawal date. This will not adversely affect your immigration record.
- If you are inside the US at the time of withdrawal, you must depart the US within 15 days of the withdrawal date.
Leave of Absence and the Five Months Rule for SEVIS Record Re-Activation
Students who will be out of F-1 status for less than 5 months may be eligible to re-active their previous SEVIS record, and will be able to use the previously issued visa for entry to the US if it is still valid. To qualify to re-activate your previous SEVIS record, you must have also:
- Submitted the SEVIS Leave of Absence request to IPO either:
- Before the start of the semester you plan to take the leave of absence, or
- If you submit it during the semester, you must submit it before you stopped attending classes the semester you take the leave of absence, and before the classes are dropped or withdrawn from your schedule
- Departed the US within 15 days of the date your SEVIS Leave of Absence request was approved by IPO and your SEVIS record was terminated for "Authorization Early Withdrawal"
- Start classes again within 5 months of the date your SEVIS Leave of Absence request was approved by IPO and your SEVIS record was terminated for "Authorization Early Withdrawal"
- Return to the U.S. only within the 30 days before the start of classes of the semester you plan to return.
Important: IPO cannot guarantee that SEVP will re-active the record. If SEVP does not approve the request for re-activation, students will instead need a new "initial attendance" I-20 to return.
Students who will be out of F-1 status for longer than five months, or students whose re-activation request is denied by SEVP, must obtain a new "initial" UT I-20 with a new SEVIS ID number, pay the SEVIS fee again, and apply for a new F-1/J-1 visa if their previous visa is expired.
It is the student’s responsibility to contact the UT International Student Advisor at least two months prior to returning to UT to request the new I-20/DS-2019.
Leave of Absence and Off-Campus Work Authorization
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) regulations state that an F-1 international student must be in status for a full academic year (fall and spring semester) in order to be eligible for Curricular Practical Training or Optional Practical Training. This regulation is especially important to note for students who are considering a leave of absence of over five months in their final year of studies at UT.
Returning from Leave of Absence
Students returning from a Leave of Absence are required to register full-time in the semester they intend to return and apply for a new I-20 for the semester they plan to return. It is the student’s responsibility to request the new I-20 at least two months prior to returning to UT.
Once you have a new I-20, you can only return to the US within 30 days of the start of the next semester.
Once you return to the US, you must validate your return to UT by completing the online New International Student Check-In request and attending the mandatory New International Student Orientation before the first day of classes.