Leave of Absence, Withdrawal, or Academic Suspension/Dismissal

We understand that situations may arise that require you to take a break from your studies. In every situation, even in the case of an emergency, please contact an academic dean or your graduate program director and an international student adviser about your situation before leaving the United States. 

F-1 and J-1 students are required to pursue a full course of study every fall and spring semester.  Therefore, your SEVIS record may need to be be closed (terminated) and you will need to leave the United States if:

  • you plan to withdraw from your courses
  • you will not or cannot register for the next semester
  • you are not able to arrive in the US in time for the start of classes
  • you need to take an extended period of time away from classes
  • you are unable to meet full course of study/in-person class requirements and you are not eligible for a reduced credit load

Visit our Full Course Of Study And Reduced Credit Load page for more information.

Leave of Absence or Withdrawal Procedure

  • Contact an academic dean(undergrad students), your graduate program director (Rutgers-New Brunswick graduate students), or the Registrar (RBHS students), as well as an international student adviser about your situation.
  • New Brunswick Students: Follow the instructions on the ScarletHub withdrawal site and complete the form. Follow any additional leave of absence/withdrawal procedures through your specific school/program to ensure your academic record is updated appropriately.
  • RBHS Students: Follow any Leave of Absence or Withdrawal procedures through your school/program to ensure your academic record is updated appropriately.
  • Log in to the RGlobal portal
  • On the left side of the page, click F-1 Student Services, then click Close SEVIS Record
  • Complete this e-form to ensure your record is closed (terminated) for the appropriate reason. Within five business days, you will receive an email from a staff member in our office who has reviewed your request.

Academic Suspensions or Dismissals

Poor academic performance may result in you being suspended or dismissed from Rutgers. You cannot enroll in Rutgers classes while suspended or dismissed. Therefore, you cannot maintain your needed full-time enrollment at Rutgers. This will impact your F-1 status and I-20.

You academic departments will notify you of a suspension or dismissal before the next semester begins - you MUST check your emails often.

If this happens to you, your options are the following:

1) Transfer to another US school. You must be admitted to a new school for the next upcoming semester. You must successfully submit the "Transfer Your F-1 SEVIS Record" e-form on the RGlobal Portal BEFORE the start of the suspension semester. 

If you do not submit this e-form before the semester begins, your SEVIS record will instead be terminated on the first day of classes. If you choose to transfer after this day, your record will be sent to your new school in TERMINATED status. The new school must either accept this terminated record and help you with Reinstatement, or give you a new I-20 that requires you to travel first. 

2) Leave the US. It is recommended that you leave the US before your SEVIS record is terminated on the first day of classes. You do not get a grace period. You should submit a "Close SEVIS Record" e-form to alert us of your plan to leave. 

If you do not take the actions above, and do not enroll in any classes for the suspended semester, you will lose your F-1 status and should plan to leave the US.

Important considerations:

  • Please note that closing your SEVIS record will end your legal status in the United States.  You must leave the United States if your SEVIS record is closed (terminated). You should depart the U.S. as soon as possible, and no later than 15 days from your approved leave of absence/withdrawal. Failure to leave in a timely manner can have negative implications on future visa/immigration applications.
  • If you are taking a leave of absence for a medical reason, you may be instead eligible for a reduced credit load.  If you are on approved medical leave, your SEVIS record will remain active, and you may stay in the United States.  Visit our Full Course Of Study And Reduced Credit Load page for more information and contact an international student adviser.
  • Any breaks, such as medical leaves for a period longer than the school allows for that program, require a termination of the SEVIS record/F-1 status for authorized early withdrawal (AEW) as long as we are informed before any courses are dropped. Students are required to depart the US within 15 days of termination for AEW. If we are not informed before courses are dropped, the student must be terminated for unauthorized early withdrawal and depart the US immediately. The SEVIS record is tied to the I-20/F-1 status/ability to be in the US. 
  • If you plan to return to your program at Rutgers after a leave of absence, you will need to request a new I-20 or DS-2019.  Please see our Returning to Rutgers page for more information.
  • Time away from Rutgers may also impact F-1 students’ eligibility for practical training in the future.  In most cases, if you are returning after more than 5 months away, you must complete 2 full semesters in F-1 status before you are eligible for CPT or OPT.  For more information, visit our Employment page.  
  • Suspension/withdraw can end your ability to access your Rutgers email account and netID. Please prepare an alternative form of contact for Rutgers, as we may try to email you after you withdraw/are suspended and need to be able to read those messages. Update this before you leave on your MyRutgers portal page.