International Student Services

Requesting an Annual Vacation

Annual Vacation Quarter Eligibility

F-1 and J-1 regulations permit one vacation quarter each year. An annual vacation quarter is a quarter spent in the United States while not registered for full-time credits.

You are eligible for vacation if you have completed one full-time academic year (3 consecutive quarters) prior to the vacation and intend to register for the following term. An annual vacation may be requested for any quarter. During your vacation quarter, you may either enroll part-time or not at all.

If you begin your UW program in winter or spring quarter, you will be eligible for your first summer vacation.  For new transfer students, your “academic year,” required for vacation quarter eligibility, may include time spent at your previous school. However, you must be full-time during your first quarter at the UW.

If you are completing your program, you may not take your final quarter as vacation. You are, however, eligible to enroll less than full time during your final quarter if fewer courses are needed to graduate. You must be registered for at least one credit.

Summer is the most common vacation quarter. International students not enrolled for summer are generally presumed to be taking a vacation quarter, as long as they are eligible. If you know you are eligible for a summer vacation quarter, you do not need to notify your ISS adviser and you can ignore the MyUW registration warning.  MyUW does not understand F1/J1 vacation quarter eligibility. If you intend to take your vacation in fall, winter or spring, you must use our online Alternative Vacation Quarter Request form.

After your vacation quarter, you will be eligible for another annual vacation after 3 consecutive full-time quarters. Please note, unused vacation quarters do not accumulate or “roll over.” For example, if you enroll full-time for six consecutive quarters, you cannot take two vacation quarters in one academic year. If you are unsure, consult your primary ISS adviser in advance to verify vacation quarter eligibility.

“On-Leave” Status and Vacation for Graduate Students

“On-Leave” and “Annual Vacation” are two different policies. On-leave status is a UW academic policy only. As an international student, you must also consider immigration policies. To have On-Leave status and remain in the U.S., you must also be eligible for an annual vacation for that particular quarter.

You must request On-Leave status if you plan to take your annual vacation in a quarter other than summer. This maintains your continuous enrollment at the UW. Please review the Graduate School’s On-Leave policy and application instructions.

If you are a J-1 graduate student who plans to request On-Leave status and travel outside of the U.S., consult your ISS adviser.

Student Services and Benefits

Taking a vacation quarter can affect your eligibilty for UW services and benefits like campus housing, Hall Health Center services, Husky Card services, U-Pass transportation purchase, building access, and more. Please contact the offices managing the service or benefit to learn if you lose access if you take a vacation quarter.

Health Insurance

If you have not purchased 12 months of ISHIP, please make sure you purchase health insurance that will cover your vacation quarter. Accidents and illness can happen at anytime without any warning. Contact the International Student Health Insurance Counselor for help with your insurance options.