F1 and J1 student status is based on full-time enrollment each Fall and Spring semester. You must work with an International Student Advisor in the Center for Global Education (CGE) if you need to take a semester off studying. You must also talk to an International Student Advisor if you need to be less than full time.
The immigration processes depend on whether you are leaving during the semester or after the semester ends. In all cases the process and paperwork related to your immigration status is in addition to – and separate from – any paperwork or notification that you may need to provide the university or your academic department.
If you fail to formally notify an ISS advisor in advance about your plans then your F-1 record may be terminated for “Failure to Enroll” or “Unauthorized Withdrawal”, which can have negative impact if you wish to visit, study, or work in the U.S. in the future.
Step One – Review the process for dropping courses on the Registrar’s website.
Step Two – Consult with an International Student Advisor at the CGE before dropping classes or filing your request to withdraw. The timing of your notification to CGE can have a big impact on your immigration status.
If you are withdrawing because of a medical condition then you may be eligible to remain in the US for medical treatment. An ISS advisor can help you know if that is an option in your case. You may need to submit additional paperwork from a US licensed Medical Doctor, Doctor of Osteopathy, or Clinical Licensed Psychologist as part of this process.
If you will be withdrawing from classes and leaving the US then it is very important to notify an ISS advisor using the Leave of Absence Form before you drop courses. In most cases an additional CGE form authorizing withdrawal from the courses is required. If you drop the courses without prior permission from an ISS Advisor then your F-1 immigration record is terminated due to an unauthorized withdrawal. You would be expected to leave the US immediately.
If you file the paperwork correctly, you may be eligible to remain in the US for up to 15 days after you request to drop your courses. Please consult with an ISS Advisor about the timing for your case. Please note that it is important to continue attending classes if possible until you formally drop them from your schedule.
If you would like to take time off studying please complete the Leave of Absence form before the semester begins. Your F-1 record will then be closed for an “Authorized Early Withdrawal”. You can stay in the US for up to 15 days after your record has been terminated for an Authorized Early Withdrawal.
In most cases you cannot remain in the US during a leave of absence and you can’t work.
It may be possible to remain in the US if your leave of absence is due to a documented medical reason. In that case additional paperwork is required before filing the Leave of Absence form. Please consult with an ISS advisor if you are requesting a leave of absence due to medical reasons.
Taking time off can affect your eligibility for CPT and OPT work authorization. You have to enroll for one full academic year for OPT and CPT eligibility.
If your leave of absence is due to suspension from Boise State University, or your record has been terminated for unauthorized employment or a similar reason, then you are expected to leave the US immediately after your immigration record is terminated because there is no grace period. Please consult an ISS advisor if you have any questions about your situation.
A Complete Withdrawal (CW) is when you want to drop all your courses in a semester. If you are requesting a Complete Withdrawal (CW) for a semester that has already finished then you must meet with an ISS advisor before filing the CW appeal with the Registrar’s Office. An ISS advisor can fully advise you on the impact of a CW and your immigration options. If you drop the courses without prior permission from an ISS Advisor then your F-1 immigration record may be terminated due to an unauthorized withdrawal. You would be expected to leave the US immediately.
You will need to reapply for admission if you were academically dismissed from the university. Please contact the International Admissions Office for information on how to reapply.
If you have taken time off for other reasons then you should complete the Returning Student Request form. You should complete the form as early as possible and before the deadline for the semester you wish to return. In order to receive an I-20 you will need to show proof of finances and be eligible to enroll. In some cases you may also need to submit an updated degree plan.
Your visa is valid for entry to the US so long as it not expired or canceled. If you have any concerns or questions about your visa’s validity then please contact your local US Embassy or Consulate.
You must check in at the CGE before classes begin so that we can register your arrival with US Immigration. Please bring copies of all your I-20, passport and visa to that check in.
We look forward to welcoming you back to campus!