Temporary Leave of Absence

Taking a Temporary Leave from AU is considered a break in your immigration status because you are not enrolled in a course of study. If you are an F-1 or J-1 student, you must consult with ISSS about all immigration implications of taking a leave before you make a final decision.

A Temporary Leave outside the US will result in the termination of your SEVIS immigration status. You will need to apply for an initial attendance I-20/DS-2019 from American University to reenter the US to resume your studies after the leave.

A Temporary Leave outside of the US will also affect your eligibility for employment under CPT or OPT. You will need to be in F-1 status for one academic year upon returning to the US to become eligible again for CPT or OPT authorization.


Pre-Departure Procedures

Once you have initiated the temporary leave process with your academic advisor, email ISSS the "Request for Temporary Leave" form. An ISSS advisor will advise on immigration implications of temporary leave and sign the form.

The Request for Temporary Leave form can be found on the Registrar's List of Forms page

Temporary Leave Extension

Temporary leave is approved for one semester at a time (except for military leave). If you decide to extend your leave for another semester, you must contact your academic advisor to request a new Temporary Leave. Failure to obtain a new Temporary Leave will lead the Registrar's office to separate you from the university based on non-enrollment. 


Return Procedures

Please follow all the steps below to obtain your new initial I-20/DS-2019 at least two months before your return date:

  1. Contact your academic advisor to enroll in classes. 

  2. If you are returning from a medical temporary leave, submit your "Student Readiness to Return form" to the Dean of Students' Office.

  3. Request a new I-20/DS-2019 using iEagle. Under the "International Office" menu, click on "Request I-20/DS-2019 & Next Steps", and complete Step 1. Upload all required documents (e.g. new financial documents, new CFIS, and passport bio page).

  4. Your new I-20/DS-2019 will be processed within two weeks. Instructions on how to download it from iEagle will be emailed to you at your official AU email address. 

  5. After receiving your new I-20/DS-2019 , log into iEagle, and under the "International Office" menu, click on "Request I-20/DS-2019 & Next Steps" and complete Step 2

  6. Pay a new SEVIS fee using your new SEVIS ID Number located on your new I-20/DS-2019.

  7. Apply for a new F-1 or J-1 visa if you stayed outside the US for 5 months or more while on an approved Temporary Leave.

  8. As soon as you arrive in the US, using your passport, visa, and I-20/DS-2019, log into iEagle. Under the "International Office" menu, click on "Request I-20/DS-2019 & Next Steps" and complete Step 3. You must enroll full-time to maintain your immigration status.