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International Students & Scholars

Leave of Absence & Resumption of Studies

Leave of absence (LOA)

As an international student, if you decide to take a leave of absence, withdraw from your program, or have been suspended you must contact the ISS to discuss your immediate plans and any plans you may have to return.

Please note, LOA for international student assumes immediate departure from the U.S. and therefore should be planned carefully. In addition, LOA will reset your employment eligibility clock and hence you will need to complete two consecutive academic semesters upon return in order to regain an off-campus employment eligibility.

Read on for details on how to proceed and what to expect:

  • Log in ISS Connect. Click "Begin" in the box for Leave of Absence and complete all requirements on the page.
  • Download the LOA form (PDF).
  • Fill out the form and get a signature from your academic advisor.
  • Submit one copy to OSA, and upload one copy to your LOA request in ISS Connect. 
  • International Student Advisor will explain the following:
    a. While on LOA, your SEVIS record and F-1 status will be terminated.
    b. Grace period - 15 days to depart
    c. LOA will reset employment eligibility clock.
  • You must be in touch with an ISA at ISS for obtaining instructions for resuming studies and status 2-3 months before coming back.
  • Note, if your absence lasts 5 months or more, you will need to obtain a new U.S. entry visa, regardless of the expiration date of your current one.

Medical leave of absence (MLOA)

If you need to take a leave of absence due to medical reason, and need to stay in the U.S. due to hospitalization or medical treatment in the U.S., you are allowed to keep your F-1 status active and remain legally in the US as long as you provide proper medical documentation. Only twelve months of medical leave is allowed, and we can only authorize this type of MLOA for one semester at a time. 

Please contact ISS immediately if you need to get authorized for a MLOA.

Resumption of studies/status

When you decide to return to Pace to resume your degree program studies, please plan ahead. Contact us at least 3 months before the semester of resumption begins for obtaining guidance as how to resume your studies and regain your status.

Follow the steps for the resumption of studies procedure:

  • Download the Resumption of Studies Form (PDF).
  • Fill out the Form and obtain an approval from an Academic Department.
  • Once resumption is approved, you will need to apply for a new I-20
  • Log in ISS Connect. Click "Begin" in the box for Resumption of Studies and complete all requirements on the page for obtaining a new I-20.
  • Upload your updated financial documentation (Affidavit of support and sponsor’s bank statement, showing the funds available for one year of study educational expenses) to your ROS request.
  • Allow at least three weeks for processing
  • New I-20 will be shipped to you via express mail
  • Since new SEVIS ID will be created for resumption of studies, you will be required to pay a new SEVIS Fee associated with a new SEVIS ID number. See I-901 SEVIS Fee Instructions (PDF)
  • If you have been outside of the U.S. for five months or more, apply for a new visa (U.S. Department of State, Study in the U.S.)
  • Visit the ISS upon arrival for a mandatory re-check in with your re-entry papers (passport, visa affixed, I-94 arrival record), so we can activate your SEVIS record.