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International Student Services

Drop, Withdrawal, and On-Leave Status


Students considering dropping a course, withdrawing from the quarter, applying for a former or current quarter drop or applying for on-leave status should review the following:

  • Will you be registered full-time or part-time after dropping the class?
  • If you would be part-time, does your F-1/J-1 status allow this? (Review the following exceptions to the full-time registration requirement.)
  • What are the Office of the University Registrar’s drop deadlines?
  • Graduate students, how will being on leave affect your F1 status?

Full-Time Registration Required

In general, international students must be registered full-time. This is defined as at least:

  • 12 credits each quarter for undergraduate students
  • 10 credits each quarter for graduate students

Review the Full-Time Enrollment and Exceptions for more definitions.

Quarterly Drop, Withdrawal, Former Quarter Drop, Current Quarter Drop & On-Leave Status

The University’s quarterly drop, withdrawal, former quarter drop, current quarter drop and on-leave status policies sometimes conflict with the F-1/J-1 full-time registration requirement. Even though the UW registration policies might allow you to drop a class, or an academic adviser or professor might recommend you drop a class, you must also consider the F-1/J-1 rules, which are separate. Such a drop might be a violation of your F-1/J-1 status.

Procedure for Dropping/Withdrawing/Applying for On-Leave Status

After the fourteenth calendar day of the quarter, you must receive permission from an ISS adviser for the following kinds of schedule changes:

  • Dropping a course if you will not be registered full-time after the course drop
  • Withdrawal from the quarter
  • Former quarter drop
  • On-leave status through the Graduate School (graduate students only).

As you make plans to drop classes, please consider the following questions.

Are there other alternatives, such as changing to an S/NS grading option or replacing the course with an online course so that you are still full-time?
Status violation can be a serious matter, making you ineligible for benefits like employment authorization and jeopardizing your stay in and future travel to the U.S.

Graduate students – How many quarters will you be on leave and will you be outside the U.S.?

Will the drop violate your F-1/J-1 status?
If so, are you aware of the serious risks associated with a status violation? Is the reason for the drop (such as GPA concerns) worth the risk?