New Initial I-20 Request for Students Returning to ASU

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International students returning to ASU after an absence to complete their degree program in which they were previously enrolled must follow these procedures.
When planning a return to ASU, you should allow enough time to receive a new I-20 and apply for a new visa, if required.

To activate a new F-1 status and request a new I-20 from the International Students and Scholars Center (ISSC) to return to Arizona State University, complete the following steps:


Plan ahead!

Start the process to return at least three month before the semester you will be returning. Please keep in mind that ISSC has a processing time of up to 10 business days.


Gather your documents and information

  • You must clear any holds NOT placed by ISSC listed on My ASU Priority Tasks. Any outstanding financial and academic holds blocking enrollment must be removed before we can process your request. The ISSC hold will be removed once your new initial I-20 has been issued.
  • Biographical page of your passport valid 6 months into the future.
  • Most recent issued F-1 visa issued to you (even if expired).
  • Financial Guarantee | Proof of Funding for one academic year.


Log in to the MyISSC eForm Portal with your ASU log-in credentials (ASUrite and password)

  • Submit the New Initial I-20 eForm through the MyISSC eForm Portal in the F-1 Student Category.
  • After you submit the eForm, keep in mind that it will be routed to your ASU Academic Advisor or Faculty Advisor.
  • Please ensure that they are able to confirm your academic standing including your new anticipated completion date.


We will contact you!

Allow up to 10 business days to review your eForm submission. Your new I-20 will be ready once the eForm has been submitted, reviewed and approved.


Review initial I-20 for accuracy.

Read and sign the Student Attestation. If you are under 18 years old, please ask your parent(s) or guardian to also sign the I-20.


Pay the SEVIS fee for your new initial I-20

Print the receipt (only do this after you receive your new I-20/DS-2019 because you need the new SEVIS number):
  1. Log on to
  2. Use the new SEVIS ID number shown on your new initial I-20.
  3. Use the School Code from your new initial I-20 in School Information section.


Verify your F-1 visa is still valid and unexpired.

Apply for a new F-1 visa if it has expired. (Please find more information below in the Frequently Asked Questions portion of this web page).


Plan to enter the U.S. within 30 days

of your new program start date (as stated under the Earliest Admission Date on page one of your I-20).


Complete the SEVIS New Student Check-in process

After your re-entry to the United States, please complete the SEVIS New Student Check-in process no later than the first day of the semester. Although this is not your first time at ASU, reporting this arrival is necessary to activate your new SEVIS record.

We look forward to welcoming you back to ASU!


Frequently asked questions

Do I need to get a new visa when I return from a leave/temporary absence?

Based on guidance from Study in the States, students returning to the U.S. to resume their studies after an authorized temporary absence will not need to renew their visa, if the visa is still valid. The U.S. Department of State’s policy is that a student does not need to apply for a new F-1 visa if the student’s current visa is still valid, regardless of length of time outside the U.S.

What is the five-month rule and does it apply to/affect me?

Please review guidance from Study in the States that explains the five-month rule in depth.

Can I come back to the U.S. during my leave?

Yes, you may make short, temporary visits, but not in F or J status. You would have to come in B-2 visitor status or with a visa waiver (ESTA) if you qualify. Please do not enter the U.S. on a B-2 visitor’s visa with intentions to change to F-1 status. You should apply for a F-1 visa outside of the U.S. 

Can I use F-1 Optional Practical Training to work while I’m on a leave?

No. Optional Practical Training (OPT) is directly linked to your student status. If you have not yet graduated, you need to be enrolled full time to be eligible for part-time work on or off campus. If the purpose of your leave is to pursue employment in the U.S., you would need to be able to change to a different visa status that supports employment. Speak with one of our advisors before you finalize your plans.

Can I use F-1 OPT as soon as I return?

No, when you are issued a new I-20 you must complete two academic semesters before you are eligible for OPT. The OPT clock is reset. Be aware that if you have only one semester left to complete your program, you will not be eligible for post-completion OPT.

What if my leave of absence is due to health issues and I need to continue medical treatment in the U.S.?

Please email the ISSC at for additional guidance.