Leave of Absence, Suspension, or Withdrawal
Before You Apply
- Your current F-1 or J-1 SEVIS record will be terminated after the official notification, and you will have to leave the U.S. in 15 days.
- Your current I-20 or DS-2019 form will no longer be valid and may not be used for future travel to the U.S. but should be kept for your records.
You’ll need to apply for a new I-20 or DS-2019 form two - three months in advance of returning to resume your full-time studies. This will be created in a new SEVIS record and you will need to pay a new SEVIS fee.
An F-1 student returning from a leave must be enrolled for two consecutive full-time semesters before being eligible for Practical Training authorization.
If a leave of absence, suspension, or withdrawal is necessary, complete the following steps:
Have the absence approved by your school, department, or academic advisor
A LOA, suspension or withdrawal must originate or be approved by your school.
Notify us for proper and timely advice
We need to know the terms and conditions. If you received your approval of the LOA from your school through an email, letter, or form, please forward it to us.
Leave the U.S.
Leave within 15 days of your leave being approved.
Returning From a Leave
To request a new I-20/DS-2019 to return to Columbia after a leave, complete the following steps:
Pay for your courier delivery
Pay for Your Courier Delivery of your I-20/DS-2019 from University Express Mail Services. Keep your order number as you will need it to submit your documents below.
To create your account and pay for your shipment, review these instructions.
Gather your documents and information
- Evidence that your school is expecting you back and when you are expected to complete your program
- This can be an email from your school to you
- The identification page of your passport
- If it has changed since you first arrived
- Financial Certification Form
- This should be with financial documents no more than 3 months old to cover tuition, fees and living expenses for an academic year unless you need only one semester to complete your program.
- Funding Documents
- As listed on your Financial Certification Form
- UEMS (University Express Mail Services) order number
- If you want FedEx Shipping internationally or within the U.S.
Login to Compass with your UNI and password to submit your application
Please click the appropriate link below:
We will contact you
Allow up to 4 weeks for us to review your application. We will notify you by email when your new I-20/DS-2019 is ready to be shipped.
Pay a new SEVIS fee
Only do this after you receive the new I-20/DS-2019 because you need the new SEVIS number.
Apply for a new F-1/J-1 entry visa if applicable
Apply for a new visa if your current visa has expired.
Submit the Online SEVIS Report form within 7 days after your arrival
Submit this form within 7 days after your arrival. Enter the U.S. no more than 30 days in advance of your start date.
Although this is not your first time at Columbia, reporting this arrival is necessary to activate your new SEVIS record.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
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.
No. Optional Practical Training (OPT) or Academic Training (AT) are 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 United States you would need to be able to change to a different visa status that supports employment.
Speak with one of our advisers before you finalize your plans.
If you have an unexpired F-1 or J-1 visa, you may continue to use it with your newly-issued I-20/DS-2019.
No. The OPT clock is reset. Once you resume your studies with a new SEVIS record and a new I-20, you will not be eligible for practical training until you have completed one academic year (2 semesters) in F-1 status. Be aware that if you only have one semester left to complete your program, you will not be eligible for post-completion OPT.