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overview and definition

When a student wishes to take a Spring or Fall semester off (not enrolled in any courses), they must request a Leave of Absence. The Leave of Absence allows degree-seeking students to keep their academic record active and open while taking a semester off with no enrollment. 


The Leave of Absence is granted by the Office of the Registrar's and applies ONLY to the student's Academic Record and NOT the student's immigration record. Below students can read more information about the step-by-step process for both the Academic and Immigration record. 


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

Medical Leave of Absence can only be approved once per semester. 

Students in the Utah Global program must first speak with Utah Global before applying for a Leave of Absence. 

The only way a student can remain in the U.S. during their Leave of Absence is if they are also approved for a Medical Reduced Course Load. If a student does not have a medical condition that qualifies for a Medical Reduced Course Load, they must submit the SEVIS Closure e-form and depart the U.S. during this time.  For more information about the Medical Reduced Course Load are encouraged to review our Reduced Course Load Page. 

Leave of Absence Process

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

  1.  Have a good immigration standing.
  2. Meet with an Academic Advisor. 
  3. Meet with an International Student Advisor. 
  4. Apply  for the Leave of Absence (see below).


Once a student is on a Leave of Absence, they are not eligible for other University services (e.g. Student Life Center, Counseling Center, etc.)

Applying for a Leave of Absence 

  1. Download the Leave of Absence form & Speak to Academic Advisors or Graduate Advisors

    Undergraduate students are encouraged to speak with their academic advisors to discuss plans and how it will impact the degree progression. Graduate students will need signatures from their supervisory commitee or from the department chair.

    Do not fill in the section that states "International Student & Scholars Official", this will be filled out by the International Student Advisor. 

    Undergraduate student leave of absence form

    Graduate student leave of absence form

  1. Students after completing the form will meet with a Designated School Official (International Student Advisor)

    Students should meet with an advisor to discuss how the plans will impact their immigration status. Bring the completed Leave of Absence form so that the advisor can sign it. Students can meet during Walk-In Advising or by scheduling an appointment from our Student Advising page. 

  1. Submit the completed Leave of Absence Form to the Office of the Registrar located in the Student Services Building or by sending it to them via email at:

    It is the student's responsibility to submit the form to the Office of the Registrar.

  1. 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. 

  1. Closing the SEVIS Record

      Students returning home must close their SEVIS record.  For more information on closing a SEVIS record visit the SEVIS Closure page. 

Returning from a leave of absence

If the student's time of leave is ending and they are preparing to return to the University of Utah, it will  be a two-step process:


  1. Contact the  Academic Advisor (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.

  1. Request for an Initial I-20 (If SEVIS Record was closed)

    Students will request ISSS to issue an Initial I-20 so that the student can travel and enter the U.S. For more information and how to apply for a new Initial I-20 please review our Receiving a New Initial I-20 page.





Last Updated: 8/17/23