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Taking a Break from Study

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If you need to take a break from your studies for a short time period, please come to the ISSC for advisement on how an absence from studies will impact your F-1/J-1 status.

Types of breaks available

Leave of Absence

If you need more than two semesters, you may need an official Leave of Absence (LOA). Graduate students should consult with their department.

Complete Session Withdrawal

If you need to withdraw from your classes, you will need to complete the Complete Session Withdrawal form.

Medical/Compassionate Withdrawal

If you need to withdraw from your classes for a medical or compassionate reason, you will need to complete the Medical/Compassionate Withdrawal Request form.


Next Steps

Taking a break from studies will impact your SEVIS record. Here's what you should do:

Step 01

First, discuss and obtain approval for the withdrawal from your academic unit.

Step 02

Request signature/approval from the ISSC. We will review the immigration implications with you so you know how this will influence your F-1/J-1 status.

Step 03

Once withdrawal is complete, your SEVIS Record will be closed, meaning your I-20 will be no longer valid for use. You will be required to depart the United States within 15 days of approval.

How will a Withdrawal affect your OPT eligibility? 

If you take a break from your studies and return later, your OPT clock will be reset. When you return to study, you have to maintain your F-1 status for at least one academic year before you are eligible for OPT. If you only have one semester left to complete your degree program, you will not be eligible for OPT.

Returning after Taking a Break from Study

If you would like to return to ASU after taking a break, please email the ISSC at issc@asu.edu at least three months prior to the semester you will be returning. 

Quick Re-entry

If you are an undergraduate student and intend to leave for one or two semesters, you may be eligible for Quick Re-entry.