Taking a Temporary Leave from AU is considered a break in your immigration status as you are not enrolled in a course of study. As a result, your F-1 status is terminated in SEVIS, and you are expected to depart the United States.
The following information is tailored to F-1 degree seeking students. J-1 students and F-1 students enrolled in non-degree or pathway programs must consult with their academic program and ISSS on their eligibility and process.
What to Consider Before Making a Final Decision
It is important that you review all academic and immigration implications of taking a Temporary Leave and understand the process before making a final decision.
Since a Temporary Leave will result in the termination of your immigration status, we strongly recommend that you have a departure plan in place before finalizing your decision and initiating the process.
For academic questions, you may consult with your academic advisor.
For immigration information, carefully review below:
Immigration implications of a Temporary Leave
- Your F-1 status is terminated in SEVIS, and you are expected to depart the U.S. as soon as possible and before your record is terminated.
- You are required to apply for a new initial attendance I-20 to return to the U.S. to resume your academic program.
- F-1 students will lose their eligibility for employment under CPT or OPT. To regain eligibility, you are required to be enrolled as a full-time student for at least two semesters (fall/spring) upon your return to the U.S.
Initiate the Temporary Leave process with your academic advisor and email the “Request for a Temporary Leave form” to ISSS for signature. ISSS will sign the form and return it to you. You must work with your academic advisor to have your request sent to the Registrar’s office to be processed in a timely manner.
Temporary Leave Cancellation and Extension
You must notify ISSS and your academic advisor immediately if you change your mind. Once your record is terminated, there is no way to reverse it.
To extend your Temporary Leave, you must consult with your academic advisor prior to the start of the new semester you wish to extend.
F-1 students may not return from Temporary Leave during the summer. We recommend that you initiate the process below to obtain your new initial attendance I-20 at least three (3) months before your expected return semester (fall/spring):
Contact your academic advisor to plan your schedule and enroll in classes.
If you are returning from medical temporary leave, submit your "Student Readiness to Return form" to the Dean of Students' Office.
Request a new initial attendance I-20 using iEagle.:
Login to iEagle
Click on the "International Office" menu on the left
Click the "Request I-20"
Submit the "Request I-20" form
- Pay a new SEVIS fee using your new SEVIS ID number located on your new initial attendance I-20.
- Check your F-1 visa and apply for a new one at your local US Embassy/Consulate if it’s expired. If you have an unexpired F-1 visa, please see more information in the FAQ.
- As soon as you arrive in the U.S., you will be required to submit a new immigration registration in iEagle to have your new immigration record “activated” in SEVIS. You must also maintain full-time student status.
Frequently Asked Questions
You are expected to depart the United States as soon as possible and before your SEVIS record is terminated. Generally, records are terminated within two (2) weeks after you initiated the process. However, many times, ISSS is required to terminate a record sooner.
The termination date is decided case-by-case. Soon, you will receive a “termination warning” email from ISSS with the exact date your SEVIS record will be terminated
If you are enrolled and maintaining good academic and immigration status this semester and plan to be on temporary leave starting next semester, you are expected to depart the United States as soon as you finish your courses this semester.
Your SEVIS record will be terminated a few weeks prior to the start of the new semester. You will receive a “termination warning” email from ISSS with the exact date your SEVIS record will be terminated a few weeks prior to the start of the new semester.
During summer, if you are not enrolled for summer courses and initiate the process for temporary leave for the fall, you are expected to depart the United States as soon as possible and before your SEVIS record is terminated (usually within two (2) weeks) as you are no longer entitled to summer vacation in the U.S.
If you are enrolled for summer courses, you are expected to depart the United States as soon as you finish your summer courses.
Most often transferring a SEVIS fee is not possible for students with a terminated SEVIS record. You may contact SEVIS for any questions related to your SEVIS fee.
Current Department of State and Homeland Security guidance states that if your F-1 student visa has not been canceled or has not expired, you may use it to enter the U.S. using a new initial attendance I-20. ISSS recommends that you contact your local U.S. Consulate abroad to further discuss your visa validity.
When contacting your local U.S. Consulate, be prepared to share:
- For how long you stayed outside the U.S. on approved Temporary Leave,
- That your SEVIS record was terminated, and
- That you were issued a new initial attendance I-20 from ISSS to return to campus to resume your academic studies.
Please note that it is ultimately at the discretion of Customs and Border Protection immigration officers to determine your admissibility to the U.S. after reviewing your information and documents. You may be asked questions about your academic and immigration status, and the circumstances around your approved temporary leave and time abroad.
You may review our “Travel and Re-entry” page for the documents to carry with you on your re-entry.
To regain your immigration eligibility for CPT or OPT, you are required to be enrolled as a full-time student for at least two semesters (fall/spring) upon your return to the U.S.
Summer does not count as a semester for this purpose.
If you have exactly two (2) semesters left once you return, you can apply and be authorized for final semester Reduced Course Load (RCL) on your second and final semester if you have fewer credits left to take. In this scenario, you will regain your immigration eligibility for Post-completion Optional Practical Training (OPT) at the end of your second semester.
If you have only one (1) semester left upon your return, you won’t be eligible to apply for Post-completion Optional Practical Training (OPT).