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A leave of absence (LOA) is when a student in good standing does not continue enrollment and has the intention to resume studies in a later term. International students in F and J visa status who will take a leave of absence from UC San Diego for one or more quarters are required to report their LOA to the International Students & Programs Office (ISPO) prior to their proposed leave, and a failure to do so will have a negative impact on your immigration status.

Review all steps below to understand how to report your LOA and how it may affect your status.



If you are a continuing students and do not plan to be enrolled at all for a quarter or more during your program at UC San Diego, you must report your leave of absence to ISPO, and do one of the following depending on your educational level:
Note: If you are a newly-admitted student to UC San Diego and will not begin their program of study, then you are ineligible for a Leave of Absence and should discuss options to defer admission to a later term with your college academic advisor (undergraduate students) or graduate coordinator in your department (graduate students).

Leave of Absence Restrictions:

  • You must be physically outside of the U.S. for the duration of your withdrawal/leave.
  • You cannot be employed by UC San Diego, UC San Diego Extension, or UC San Diego Medical Center.
  • You cannot hold a fellowship, traineeship, or similar appointment administered by the University.
  • You cannot use any University facilities or place demands on faculty.


Impacts to Current Status

  • F-1 students: After you leave the U.S., your SEVIS record will be Terminated for Authorized Early Withdrawal. You will be required to take action to request a valid I-20 for return to the U.S. in F-1 status.
  • J-1 students: After you leave the U.S., your SEVIS record will be Completed. You will be required to take action to request a valid DS-2019 for return to the U.S. in J-1 status.
  • Upon termination/completion of your SEVIS record, all F-1/J-1 benefits, such as travel and employment cease immediately.
  • SEVIS records of dependents sponsored under your visa will also be terminated. Dependents in this situation are not allowed to remain in the U.S.
  • If you have not already left when your SEVIS record is terminated/completed, you must leave within 15 days of the termination/completion date. If you do not leave the U.S. within the stated time, you will be out of status and in the country without authorization.

Impacts to Status Upon Return 

After you leave the U.S., your SEVIS record will no longer be valid for use to re-enter the U.S. to resume your program of study until you have re-enrolled in coursework and have requested a valid Form I-20 or Form DS-2019 to return to the U.S. However, depending on the length of time you are outside of the U.S., there may be future impacts to your status impacting travel and employment authorization upon return. It is important to learn about these impacts prior to submitting your Leave of Absence request to ISPO. 



  • Discuss your plans with an ISPO Advisor prior to your proposed leave.
  • Discuss the impact of your proposed leave on your program of study with your college or department advisor.
  • Log in to .
  • Go to "Services" tab.
  • Select "Leave of Absence from U.S. Reporting Form".
  • Fill out your request.
  • Upload a PDF copy of your airline ticket or flight itinerary showing the date of your planned departure from the U.S.*
    • *If you have started your program at UC San Diego remotely from outside the U.S. and do not have an Active SEVIS record, then you will not need to upload this document.
  • "Submit" your request.


  • Your request will be processed by an ISPO advisor right after your departure from the U.S., or within 5 business days if you are already outside the U.S.
  • A notification email will be sent to you when your request has been processed by ISPO.
  • If you are in the U.S., then depart within 15 days of submitting your request in iPortal or before the start of the next quarter (whichever is sooner).


Procedures to request your I-20 (F-1 students) or DS-2019 (J-1 students) for your return from a leave of absence are different depending on whether you are in F-1 or J-1 visa status.