Contact Us

ISSS office walk-in advising hours: Monday - Friday: 9:00a.m. - 5:00p.m.

Int'l Student & Scholar Svcs 4400 Massachusetts Avenue NW
410 Butler Pavilion
Washington, DC, USA 20016 United States

Back to top

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.

A Temporary Leave outside of the US will also affect your eligibility for employment under CPT or OPT. You will need to be in F1 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 a final decision on your leave and have initiated the temporary leave process with your academic unit you must consult with ISSS on acceptable timeline to leave the US.

You will also need to inform ISSS of the date of your expected return.


Return Procedures

The process must be initiated at least two months prior to the start of the semester you plan to return. Please follow the steps provided below to obtain your new initial I-20/DS-2019:

  1. Email your academic advisor to notify of your return and enroll for classes. Copy ISSS at on your email communication to the academic advisor.

  2. If you are returning from a medical temporary leave, email Dean of Students your “Readiness to Return form” and copy ISSS at

  3. Email ISSS at new financial documents (no older than 3 months). For more information, click here.

  4. Your new I-20/DS 2019 will be processed within two weeks of your request. Your I-20/DS 2019 will be mailed to you by your admitting unit (you must confirm your mailing address with your admissions office. You can also email a prepaid shipping label and ISSS will mail it to you.

  5. Pay a new SEVIS fee using your new SEVIS number located on your new I-20/DS 2019.

  6. 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.

  7. As soon as you arrive in the US, come to ISSS with your passport, visa, and I-20/DS-2019 for clearance and immigration check in. You must enroll full-time to maintain your immigration status.