International Student Services

Leave of Absence Information

Important Reminders

The ISS office’s “Leave of Absence” process only affects immigration status. Students need to contact their academic department or faculty advisor with questions about their academic status. Students need to contact other UW offices regarding their policies about graduate on leave status/time off/withdrawals/leave of absences/early departures, and complete any necessary applications or required steps. 

ISS will terminate a student’s SEVIS record for “authorized early withdrawal” when they are approved for a leave of absence. Termination means the I-20 will no longer be valid, and the student must leave the U.S.

Students must physically leave the U.S. within 15 days of the SEVIS termination date. This deadline is enforced by the U.S. government; students who do not depart on time may be directly contacted by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

Students must stop participating in any F-1 work programs (examples: CPT, on-campus employment, OPT). The last day to participate in any currently authorized F-1 work program must be the earlier of the following two dates:

A) the date of withdrawal from enrollment at UW
B) the date the SEVIS record is terminated  

Students who want to visit the U.S. during their leave of absence are not eligible to use their UW I-20 to enter the U.S. Students would need to enter under a different visa type (such as B-2 visitor or visa-waiver). 

Information about Returning to Study at UW


Pathway A —  Reactivation of SEVIS Record

Pathway B — UW Returning Student Process
Quarters student has missed?

Only one quarter

(Students who have missed only one quarter can also choose Pathway B)

2 or more quarters
Full course of study in first quarter back? Yes, even if first quarter back is summer Yes, even if first quarter back is summer
Eligible for CPT or OPT? Yes, if you have completed 3 quarters before your missed quarter. Ineligible for off-campus work & practical training until you have completed one academic year after return
Next eligible for vacation?

After return, must complete the next 3 quarters (including summer quarter, when applicable) with a full course of study before being eligible for an annual vacation quarter.

Eligible for a vacation quarter during first summer quarter after your return, (unless student’s first quarter back is summer)

Earliest date to return to the U.S.?

30 days before the start of the next quarter after your missed quarter

30 days before the start of the next quarter after your missed quarters


ISS submits the request to reactivate your terminated SEVIS record (I-20) to the government. Please be aware that ISS does not control the reactivation process, and the SEVIS record might not be reactivated in time.

You might have to delay your return or choose to request a new I-20 with a new SEVIS ID number (see section below).

It is not possible for ISS to contact the government for status or processing time updates after we file your reactivation request.

May have to do UW Returning Student application and be approved before ISS can issue new SEVIS record.

Must get new SEVIS record (initial I-20 with new SEVIS ID number) to return to UW. 

Required to provide new financial documents showing funding is available for a year of study. 

Students will also need to pay a new SEVIS fee to the government, and will need a new visa because of time outside the U.S.

In control of the process? The U.S. government UW ISS
Timeline of process?

The earliest time ISS can file the reactivation request is 60 days before the start of the next quarter (or the date of a visa interview appointment)

Begin Returning Student process at least 3 months before planned return.