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Leave of absence

Learn about the process of taking a leave from the University of Utah as an International Student

overview and definition

A leave of absence allows degree-seeking students to keep their academic records active while taking a semester off with no enrollment.

The Leave of Absence is granted by the Office of the Registrar and allows the student's academic record to remain active, not their immigration record! For more information about the step-by-step process for both maintaining both your academic and immigration records active while on a leave of absence, please see below.

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Length of Leave of Absence

For undergraduate and graduate students, non-medical leave of absence can be requested for up to 7 semesters (including Summer semesters).

Medical leave of absence can only be approved once per semester (up to 3 semesters; 12 months).

Utah Global

Students participating in the Utah Global program must first speak with Utah Global before applying for a leave of absence.

Staying in the U.S. with an Approved Leave of Absence

Only students on a medical leave of absence may be allowed to remain in the U.S. during their approved leave of absence period. Students who do not have a medical condition that qualifies for a Medical Reduced Course Load and students on a non-medical leave of absence must submit the SEVIS Closure e-form and depart the U.S. during their leave of absence.

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Leave of Absence Process

All students must first understand the requirements for applying for a Leave of Absence:

  1. SEVIS record must be in good standing.
  2. Student must meet with their academic advisor.
  3. Student must meet with an international student advisor.
  4. Student must apply for Leave of Absence (please see below).


Once a student is on an approved Leave of Absence, they are not eligible to access University services such as the Student Life Center, Counseling Center, etc.

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Applying for a Leave of Absence 

Download Leave of Absence Form and meet with Academic /Graduate Advisor(s)

Undergraduate students are encouraged to speak with their academic advisors to discuss their leave of absence plans and how it will impact their degree progression. Graduate students require signatures from their supervisory committee or department chair on Leave of Absence form.

 Do not fill in the line that says "International Student & Scholars Official", this section must be filled out/signed by an International Student Advisor from our office.



After completing the form, students must meet with an International Student Advisor

Students must meet with an International Student Advisor to discuss how their leave of absence will impact their immigration status. Please bring the completed Leave of Absence form to your appointment, so that an advisor can sign it for you. Students can meet with an International Student Advisor during our designated walk-in/virtual drop-in advising times or by scheduling an appointment on our Student Advising page.

Submit Completed Form to Office of the Registrar

After an International Student Advisor has signed the Leave of Absence form and it is completed, please submit this form to the Office of the Registrar (located in the Student Services Building). The form may be submitted in-person or via email at:


DISCLAIMER: It is the student's responsibility to submit the Leave of Absence form to the Office of the Registrar.

Drop / Withdraw from Classes

Students are responsible to drop/withdraw from classes for the semester they are requesting a leave of absence from. We encourage students to meet with their academic department if the student has additional questions about withdrawals. 

Closing the SEVIS Record

Students departing the U.S. to return home during their leave of absence must close their SEVIS record. For more information on closing your SEVIS record, please visit the SEVIS Closure page.

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Returning from a leave of absence

If a student's leave of absence is ending and they are preparing to return to the University of Utah, they will need to complete the following two-step process to regain their F-1 status:

Contact Academic Advisor (for help with registering for your classes)

Contact your Academic Advisor to notify them you are planning to return from your leave of absence and ensure that you are enrolled in classes for the semester you are returning. 

Students must have an Active Academic Record in the university system to go through this process. If the student did not do the Leave of Absence and their Academic Record is discontinued, they will need to re-apply to the University of Utah through the Office of International Admissions.

Request for an Initial I-20 (only students who submitted SEVIS Closure request)

Students who previously submitted a SEVIS Closure request prior to/upon their Leave of Absence, must submit an "Initial I-20" request to ISSS so that we may issue you a new Initial I-20 form. The Initial I-20 form will be required for these students to re-enter the U.S. to resume their studies and regain their F-1 student status. For more information on how to apply for a new Initial I-20, please refer to our Receiving a New Initial I-20 page.

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Last Updated: 7/8/24