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International On Campus

Leave of Absence

In order 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

Meet With Your Advisor When Planning an Absence

You are required to make an appointment with a Global Services advisor before taking a break in enrollment. Your advisor will discuss immigration options prior to departing, as well as return procedures.

Types of Absences

Temporary Leave of Absence Less Than Five Months

Immigration regulations allow you to take an absence of up to five months. If Global 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 Global Services and the Department of Homeland Security are required. It is vital that you communicate with Global Services to facilitate your return.

Leave of Absence More Than Five Months

If you are outside the United States for more than five months, you might still be able to return to study at WSU. You will need new immigration documents. A Global 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.

Effect of Leave of Absence on Training Programs

If you exit the United States for more than five 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 one academic year. Any previous academic enrollment in the United States will no longer count toward the 1 year required to participate in training programs.

Cancellation of Enrollment

To cancel enrollment after the semester has begun:

Washington State University