To maintain valid immigration status, you must be enrolled continually on a full-time basis. Any break in your program of studies affects your immigration status.
When you discontinue studies, immigration regulations require that you depart from the United States within 15 days.
Common reasons for taking a break in enrollment include:
- Returning home voluntarily
- Family emergency
- Obtaining medical treatment abroad
- Withdrawing from classes or an academic program
You are required to make an appointment with an International Student and Scholar Services advisor before taking a break in enrollment. Your advisor will discuss immigration options prior to departing, as well as return procedures.
Temporary Leave of Absence Less Than 5 Months
Immigration regulations allow you to take an absence of up to 5 months. If International Student and Scholar Services approves your leave, you may be able to return to the United States on your current I-20. However, reactivating your immigration record can be a lengthy process. Action by International Student and Scholar Services and the Department of Homeland Security are required. It is vital that you communicate with International Student and Scholar Services to facilitate your return.
Leave of Absence More than 5 Months
If you are outside the United States for more than 5 months, you might still be able to return to study at WSU. You will need new immigration documents. An International Student and Scholar Services advisor will discuss the return process with you. Depending on the duration of your absence from the United States, you may need to work with the Office of Admissions (for undergraduates) or the Graduate School to facilitate your return.
If you exit the United States for more than 5 months, you will begin a new immigration record.
Before you can participate in Optional Practical Training (OPT) or Curricular Practical Training (CPT), you must enroll in courses for at least 1 academic year. Any previous academic enrollment in the United States will no longer count toward the 1 year required to participate in training programs.
To cancel enrollment after the semester has begun:
- Before cancelling enrollment online, notify an International Student and Scholar Services advisor of your early withdrawal
- Log in to myPassport to complete the Leave of Absence request form
- Once International Student and Scholar Services has approved your absence, cancel your enrollment through the Registrar’s Office