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RETURNING TO THE U.S. FROM A LEAVE OF ABSENCE (LOA) OF LESS THAN 5 MONTHS

 

International students returning from an authorized leave of absence must have a valid I-20 (F-1) or DS-2019 (J-1) to re-enter the U.S. to resume their studies at UC San Diego.

Review all steps below to understand how this process works and how it may affect your visa status.

 


Information for F-1 students:

STEP 1: DETERMINE IF YOUR LEAVE IS LESS THAN 5 MONTHS

You may be eligible for a reactivation of your SEVIS record and I-20 if your reported leave from the U.S. is less than 5 months:

  • The 5 months are calculated from the date you depart the U.S. to the date that you return to the U.S.*
    • *However, during the COVID-19 pandemic, the current temporary SEVP guidance allows students to maintain their F-1 visa status while studying remotely outside the U.S., as long as they enroll in a full course load (or have an approved RCL authorization) and otherwise maintain their immigration status.
    • While this guidance is in place, the 5 months are calculated from the start of your leave term** to the date that you return to the U.S.
    • **Your leave term is the academic quarter which you are not enrolled in at UC San Diego, you are not inside the U.S., and for which you have reported or will report your leave from the U.S. to ISPO through iPortal.
  • If you are taking a leave from the Fall quarter, the 5 months are calculated from the Fall quarter start date to the date of your re-entry to the U.S.
  • If your leave is longer than 5 months, then your SEVIS record is not eligible for reactivation. Instead, request a New Initial I-20 in iPortal by following instructions here.

STEP 2: CONFIRM ELIGIBILITY

In addition to the 5-month rule above, you also need to meet all of the following criteria to be eligible for a reactivation of your SEVIS record and I-20:

  • You have not been academically disqualified or suspended.
  • You have reported a Leave of Absence from the U.S. in iPortal, and your SEVIS record was terminated due to an authorized early withdrawal.
  • You have submitted your Leave of Absence from U.S. Reporting Form in iPortal prior to departing the U.S.*
    • *However, during the COVID-19 pandemic, the current temporary SEVP guidance allows students to maintain their F-1 visa status while studying remotely outside the U.S., as long as they enroll in a full course load (or have an approved RCL authorization) and otherwise maintain their immigration status.
    • Therefore, this eligibility criteria is not expected to be taken into consideration by SEVP while the current temporary SEVP guidance is in place.
  • You departed the U.S. prior to the start of your leave term.
  • You have not entered the U.S. during your leave in another visa status (such as B-2 visitor or ESTA).
  • You will return to the U.S. to resume your studies.
  • You will resume your studies at the next available quarter after returning to the U.S.
  • If your SEVIS record is not eligible for reactivation, then you can request a New Initial I-20 in iPortal by following instructions here.

STEP 3: REVIEW REACTIVATION DENIAL REASONS

SEVP will likely deny reactivation requests if:

  • Your leave of absence is more than 5 months.
  • You requested the leave of absence after you departed the U.S.*
    • *However, during the COVID-19 pandemic, the current temporary SEVP guidance allows students to maintain their F-1 visa status while studying remotely outside the U.S., as long as they enroll in a full course load (or have an approved RCL authorization) and otherwise maintain their immigration status.
    • Therefore, this denial reason is not expected to be taken into consideration by SEVP while the current temporary SEVP guidance is in place.
  • You requested the leave of absence after the start of the leave term.
  • You depart the U.S. after the start of the leave term.
  • Please note that you are not eligible to request reactivation if you have been academically disqualified or suspended.

STEP 4: REVIEW YOUR TIMELINE

Reactivation Timeline:

  • Submit a SEVIS record reactivation request in iPortal  up to 60 days before the start date of your intended quarter of return. Refer to the table below for exact dates. Complete Academic Calendars for future years can be found here.
  • ISPO will then submit the SEVP Data Fix request to SEVIS (the U.S. government).
  • SEVIS will either approve or deny the request.
  • If you do not submit a timely request, you are at risk of delaying the SEVP Data Fix. Without an approved SEVP Data Fix to change your SEVIS Record from Terminated to Active, you will not be permitted back into the U.S.

 

Quarter of Departure for LESS than 5 Month LOA:

Quarter of Return from LESS than 5 Month LOA:

Must Submit  iPortal  Request (SEVP Data Fix Request) to ISPO between:

Winter 2021

Spring 2021 (Quarter begins: March 24, 2021)

January 23, 2021 – February 26, 2020

Spring 2021

Summer Session I 2021 (Quarter begins: June 28, 2021)
OR
Summer Session II 2021 (Quarter begins: August 02, 2021)

Summer Session 1: April 29, 2021 - May 28, 2021
OR
Summer Session 2: June 03, 2021 – July 02, 2021

Fall 2021

Winter 2022 (Quarter begins: January 03, 2022)

November 04, 2021 - December 04, 2021

 

STEP 5: SUBMIT YOUR YOUR REQUEST FOR REACTIVATION OF YOUR SEVIS RECORD

  • Log in to iportal.ucsd.edu .
  • Go to "Services" tab.
  • Fill out your request.
  • Select "SEVIS Reactivation Request for Returning from Leave of Absence Less Than 5 Months"
  • Upload a PDF copy of your airline ticket or flight itinerary showing the date of your planned return to the U.S.
  • "Submit" your request.

STEP 6: REVIEW WHAT HAPPENS NEXT

  • We will process your request within 10 business days, but the actual processing time for the SEVP Data Fix is up to SEVIS, not our office.
  • You can check the status of your request anytime by logging in to iPortal and clicking on "My Requests" tab. 
  • A notification email will be sent to you when your SEVIS record is changed to Active.
  • You may then return to the U.S. using your most recent I-20.
  • If your reactivation request is denied by SEVP,  then you can request a New Initial I-20 in iPortal by following instructions here.

STEP 7: COMPLETE YOUR DOCUMENT SELF-CHECK WHEN YOU RETURN TO THE U.S.

Upon re-entry into the U.S., you must complete the document self-check to verify that your immigration documents were processed correctly at the port-of-entry.

 

 

 


Information for J-1 students:

STEP 1: CONFIRM ELIGIBILITY (J-1)

If you were approved for a leave of absence for any length of time (regardless of whether it was less or more than 5 months), your SEVIS record was completed and your current DS-2019 is no longer valid. At least 30 days before your intended return you must request a new DS-2019 in order to return to the U.S. in valid J-1 status.

STEP 2: SUBMIT YOUR REQUEST FOR A NEW DS-2019

  • Log in to iportal.ucsd.edu .
  • Go to "Services" tab.
  • Select "Initial I-20/DS-2019 Request With New SEVIS ID".
  • Fill out your request.
  • Choose your "Document Delivery Preference".
  • Upload a PDF copy of your passport bio page.
  • Upload a PDF copy of your bank statement(s) or financial support letter(s) to show funding for the entire duration of your studies.
  • "Submit" your request.

STEP 3: RECEIVE YOUR NEW DS-2019

  • Your new initial DS-2019 showing your new start date at UC San Diego will be issued within 10 business days.
  • You can check the status of your request anytime by logging in to iPortal and clicking on "My Requests" tab.
  • A notification email will be sent to you when your document is ready.
  • Sign your new DS-2019 when you receive it, and keep your previous DS-2019 for your records, do NOT throw it away.

STEP 4: COMPLETE YOUR DOCUMENT SELF-CHECK WHEN YOU RETURN TO THE U.S.

Upon re-entry into the U.S., you must complete the document self-check to verify that your immigration documents were processed correctly at the port-of-entry.