Office of Global Engagement
International Students and Scholars

The primary responsibility of a student in F-1 status is to be enrolled in a full-time course of study. By taking a leave of absence a student is no longer full-time enrolled and this will affect their F-1 status. OISSS is required to appropriately update the student's F-1 SEVIS record when a student takes a leave of absence. If considering a leave of absence, a student in F-1 or J-1 status is required to contact OISSS as soon as possible.

Types of Leaves of Absence

  • Personal leave of absence
  • Medical leave of absence  
  • Leave of absence for employment purposes
  • Certain types of study away

Departure from the U.S.

During a period of approved leave of absence a student is not allowed to remain in the U.S. in F-1 status and the student is required to depart the U.S. within 15 days of the start of the leave of absence, unless the student transfers their F-1 record to another full-time program or applies for a change of status with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

Remaining in U.S. During a Medical Leave of Absence

A student approved for a medical leave of absence, who intends to seek treatment in the U.S. (doctor's note required) during the approved period of leave, may remain in the U.S. with an active F-1 record issued by Brown if the student obtains a Reduced Course Load Authorization from OISSS.

All F-1 students are required to be enrolled in a full-time course of study every academic semester for the entire length of their academic program.
Students who are not able to complete their current program by the expected end date because of valid academic or medical reasons, must apply for a program extension with the OISSS.
When transferring from one school to another school within the United States, you must carefully follow certain procedures to maintain lawful F-1 status.