Leave of Absence or Withdrawal

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 will 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 unable to meet full course of study 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

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).
  • If you are taking a leave of absence for a medical reason, you may be 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.
  • 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.  ‘