Taking Time Off as an F-1 Student

Foreign students who desire to study in American universities require an F-1 visa (student visa) to be able to do so. International students in F-1 status are required under US immigration law to be enrolled full-time during their regular semesters. Often times, students may have to take time off during their program for various reasons, such as health, family commitment, child birth, financial factors, etc. F-1 students who wish to take time off from their academic course should consult their International Student Advisor or Designated School Official at their university/college regarding their travel plans before withdrawing from their classes. F-1 students are required to be enrolled as full-time in their program; therefore, they cannot remain in the US while on a leave of absence. The regulations do not prescribe a time limit for a leave of absence while in F-1 status. In cases of medical situations or in the event that a student needs to take maternity leave, some universities may authorize F-1 students to reduce their course load or take no classes at all for up to 12 months per academic level.


Zeenat Phophalia, Esq., Senior Associate


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