Leave of Absence and Withdrawal

Students may want to take a Leave of Absence or Withdraw from the University at some point during their program. This decision is up to the student, but ISSS recommends that students talk to an ISSS advisor before filing the needed form with the Registrar's Office so they are aware of the immigration related consequences.

Leave of Absence

Students who need to take a break from their studies for personal or other reasons, but intend to return to USF within one year, can file a Leave of Absence with the Registrar. Filing a Leave of Absence will hold your place for one year. After that you would need to reapply to return to USF. International students who decide to take a Leave of Absence, should make an appointment with one of the ISSS advisor to discuss your plans. The following steps outline the typical Leave of Absence procedure, but it is best to speak with an ISSS advisor to discuss your particular case before submitting the form to the Registrar:

  • Turn in the Leave of Absence form to the Registrar's Office. You can find the form on their website. Students who file a Leave of Absence will need to leave the United States within 15 days of turning in the form. If the requested leave is for the next term, then students need to plan to leave the US after the current term ends.
  • ISSS will terminate your current SEVIS record based on the effective date of your leave of absence and will notify you once this has happened. After we have terminated your record you will not be able to use your I-20 to re-enter, unless otherwise notified by ISSS.
  • To return to USF you will need to submit the Return to USF request in MyISSS to request for a new I-20. The documents needed and detailed instructions can be found on the Return to USF webpage.

Please note that ISSS uses your USF email address to communicate while you are taking a Leave of Absence. It is very important that you check your USF email regularly while you are on Leave of Absence. 


If you have decided to withdraw from USF before completing your program, you will need to submit the Withdraw form to the Registrar. You can find the Withdraw form on their website. ISSS will need to terminate your SEVIS record once you have withdrawn and will notify you that your record has been terminated. ISSS recommends meeting with an advisor before submitting the form so that you can be clear about the implications and the time you will have to leave the United States.