A student in F-1 status is expected to be enrolled every session or semester until s/he completes his/her program of study, unless she or he is eligible for a legal break (IELP student) or summer vacation (University students).
If you will not be registered for an upcoming required session or semester due to personal/family/financial reasons and you need to withdraw from classes during an active or upcoming session/semester, your SEVIS record cannot remain in active status and you must depart the United Status. This is the reason you must apply for an "authorized early withdrawal". We may also process an "authorized early withdrawal" if you will be taking online courses while staying outside the U.S. Please be aware, authorized early withdrawal terminations are not a "negative" mark on your immigration record as other terminations may be.
An Authorized Early Withdrawal is separate from any “leave of absence” request you must make with your academic department. If you are an Undergraduate student the leave of absence request can be submitted through your TUportal under TUapplications, select Enrollment Services, and then select Services. Select Leave of Absence from the Services menu and complete the necessary information. If you are a Graduate student, please contact your academic department to request the leave of absence.
It is very important that you understand that applying for an authorized early withdrawal involves the termination of your SEVIS record. If you return to resume your classes in the U.S. within five months of your last semester/session of attending classes, we will be able to reactivate your SEVIS record and there will be no break in your SEVIS program.
If you do not request that ISSS re-activate your SEVIS record, you will not be permitted to re-enter the U.S. The request should be submitted 60 days before you plan to re-enter the U.S.
If you return to the U.S. after your gap in classes is over 5 months, you would need to:
- Apply for a new I-20 (receive a new SEVIS ID number)
- Pay the SEVIS fee for the new SEVIS ID number
- Be in F-1 status for an academic year before being eligible for most types of off-campus employment
An F-1 student who has been granted an Authorized Early Withdrawal by this office may remain in the United States to prepare to depart the United States for up to 15 days following the withdrawal date noted in SEVIS. If you do not depart within 15 days of the authorization, we will not be able to re-activate your SEVIS record when you return.
When the Authorized Early Withdrawal is approved, your SEVIS record will be terminated and you must discontinue any authorized employment.
Before you return to the U.S., you must also ensure that your F-1 visa is valid; if it is not, you must apply to re-new your visa (for more information, please see: https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/us-visas/study.html). If you need to apply for an F1 visa during your absence, please provide proof from the consulate/embassy specifying the place, date and time of the visa interview so ISSS can request to expedite the re-activation of your record.