Leave Of Absence, Suspension Or Withdrawal
Leave of Absence, Suspension, or Withdrawal from Florida Tech by Students in F-1 Status
While in the United States, students in F-1 non-immigrant status must be continuously enrolled full time during the academic year until the completion of their programs of study. If you take a non-medical leave of absence, withdraw voluntarily, or are suspended or required to withdraw from the University, you are required to leave the United States within 15 days of this action. The only exception to these rules is a medical leave of absence.
If you take a leave of absence, withdraw from your program, or are dismissed, you must contact ISSS immediately to discuss your immediate plans and any plans you may have to return.
Medical Leave of Absence
The only exception that allows you to stay in the United States without transferring to another school or changing to another non-immigrant status is a medical leave of absence. Once your school has approved a medical leave of absence, you must also receive approval from the International Students and Scholars Office. In addition you should provide ISSS with a completed Less than Full Load Authorization form together with a letter from your physician stating your medical condition and advising you are unable to register as a student at the time the leave is granted. If the doctor's letter meets immigration regulations, you are allowed to stay in the United States during the semester as long as you register for the following semester. Under immigration regulations, only one year of medical leave is allowed per degree level and may be authorized in semester increments only.
If you are on a medical leave and depart the United States, you may return using your current documents (valid passport, valid F-1 entry visa and recertified I-20).
Withdrawal, Voluntary Leave of Absence, Dismissal, Suspension
For all the above categories, F-1 students are required to depart the United States. Your current F-1 status is "terminated" in the SEVIS database and you will need to request a new initial I-20 to return to the U.S. Apply for your new I-20 by contacting ISSS and following the instructions below.
When you return to the U.S. using your new initial I-20, you must report in person to the ISSS office so that your return to Florida Tech can be reported to SEVIS. Bring the new I-20 and your passport within the first week of your entry to the U.S. This is very important as you will lose your F-1 status if SEVIS is not updated in a timely manner.
- If you have not registered during the academic year for any reason other than a sanctioned medical leave of absence, you will not be eligible for practical training until you have completed one academic year in F-1 status.
- If you wish to make short-term, temporary visits to the U.S. during the period that you are on leave, suspended or withdrawn from the University, you should not enter in F-1 status but rather on a different visa, such as a B-2 visitor's visa. You may enter in Student Status only if you are returning for the purpose of resuming your studies.
- If you have taken a medical leave in the United States, you are not permitted to engage in any student-based employment in the U.S., whether on-campus or off-campus, until you have been cleared to return to your studies. If you wish to take a leave of absence to pursue employment or any other activities in the U.S., you will have to change your immigration status accordingly and should speak with an ISSO adviser about your plans.
Instructions for Applying for a New I-20
To Return to the United States and Florida Tech:
- Submit a completed financial certification form to the International Student and Scholar Services office (found in the “forms” section of the ISSS website.)
- File a request online to have your I-20 shipped through e-global shipping services.
- Pay the SEVIS I-901 fee (visit I-901 Fee website for more information)
- Once you have received the new I-20, contact the U.S. Consulate in your area to inquire whether you will need to obtain a new visa.
Student must report to the International Student and Scholar Services office upon return to the U.S. to provide copies of your I-20 and any other relevant documents (new F-1 visa if applicable.) Student will not be able to register for classes until those copies are provided.