F-1/J-1 visa students must be continuously enrolled full time during fall and spring semesters until the completion of their programs of study. If F-1/J-1 visa students interrupt their studies, their I-20/DS-2019 form will become invalid and they will not be eligible to remain in the United States in F-1/J-1 status.
F-1/J-1 students must contact International Student Services immediately before they interrupt their studies for any of the following reasons:
- The student is planning to request a leave of absence from UTSA during the fall or spring semester.
- The student is being academically dismissed or is under review for academic dismissal.
- The student is planning to withdraw from all of their classes at any point during the fall or spring semester.
The student’s F-1/J-1 status will be terminated in the SEVIS database if they depart UTSA for any of the above reasons. The student cannot remain in the United States and must leave the country within 15 days unless he or she changes her visa status.
If the student fails to notify our office before departing from the United States, the student’s visa status in the SEVIS database will be terminated for failure to enroll, and this could have serious consequences if the student wants to visit, study or work in the United States in the future.
Leave of Absence/Withdrawal Process
Submit the following to an international student advisor:
- Cancel your enrollment through Enrollment Services by submitting the UTSA Withdrawal Form if necessary.
- Pay all outstanding balances at UTSA.
- Once your leave of absence/withdrawal request is approved by International Student Services, your SEVIS record will be terminated for authorized early withdrawal, which will not adversely affect your immigration record. If you are working on campus or participating in CPT or pre-completion OPT, you must stop working on the date of the SEVIS termination or on the last day of the current semester, whichever comes earlier.
- Depart the United States within 15 days of termination of your SEVIS record.
For more information about the process, read out handout about Leave of Absence/Withdrawal carefully.
Exception: Medical Leave of Absence
In the event an F-1/J-1 student suffers from an illness or other medical condition that compels his or her to interrupt studies at UTSA, the student has the option to return to their home country or remain in the United States.
Students must obtain authorization for a medical leave of absence.
Any student who wishes to remain in the United States while receiving medical treatment must obtain a physician’s letter that recommends the medical leave of absence, with a description of their medical conditions in order to obtain authorization from International Student Services.
If the physician’s letter meets immigration regulations requirements, the student will be allowed to stay in the United States during the semester as long as they register for the following semester. Under immigration regulations, only one year of medical leave of absence is allowed per degree level. Medical leave may be authorized in semester increments only.
- If you have not enrolled during the academic year for any reason other than an authorized medical leave of absence, you will not be eligible for practical training until you have completed one academic year in F-1 status.
- If you have taken a medical leave in the United States, you are not permitted to engage in any employment in the United States until you have been cleared to return to your studies.