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International students in F and J visa status are encouraged to start preparing early if they are interested in studying abroad while at UC San Diego. It is recommended that you begin researching and applying for study abroad opportunities at least one year prior to your expected study abroad start date. Review all steps below to understand how studying abroad may affect your status.


Learn More About Studying Abroad

  • Research programs on UC San Diego’s Study Abroad website at
  • Discuss your plans with a Study Abroad Advisor
  • Learn about visa requirements for the country in which you are studying by visiting that country's consulate website.

Discuss Your Plans with ISPO

  • Discuss your plans with an International Student Advisor at ISPO
  • Verify how studying abroad may affect U.S. visa/immigration status
  • Confirm all requirements or deadlines of leaving and re-entering the U.S.
  • Find out if there are any restrictions on studying abroad with your U.S. visa
  • Ensure you know about all required documentation you will need to bring with you while studying abroad

Check These Reminders

  • Check the visa requirements of the country in which you are studying by visiting that country's consulate website
  • Be sure to maintain any minimum unit requirements while studying abroad
  • OAP (Opportunities Abroad Program) vs. EAP (Education Abroad Program): If your Tritonlink record will not show UC San Diego enrollment during the quarter you are abroad (OAP), then you will need to take a Leave of Absence from the U.S. and your F-1 SEVIS record will be Terminated for Authorized Early Withdrawal.
  • Will you study abroad through OAP for more than 5 months? If you will be outside of the U.S. without enrollment at UC San Diego (through UC EAP) for more than 5 months, then you may need to take a Leave of Absence from the U.S.

Other Things to Consider

  • Do you have minimum unit requirements for your U.S. student visa?
  • Will you finish UC San Diego degree requirements while studying abroad?
  • If you are studying abroad in your home country, are there any military service requirements you may need to fulfill when you return to your country?
  • Should you apply for a study abroad visa in the U.S. or your home country?
  • Will your eligibility for employment authorization such as F-1 CPT, F-1 OPT and J-1 Academic Training (AT) be impacted by actions taken on your I-20/DS-2019 due to study abroad?
  • If you are in a visa status that is dependent on a parent or spouse (Ex: E-2, H-4 status): Will you turn 21 while studying abroad? Will your spouse maintain status while you are abroad?