To remain in valid F-1 immigration status, international students must enroll full-time each required semester. If students need to take off a required semester, abruptly end their studies, or depart the US for an emergency, they may request permission for an Authorized Early Withdrawal (AEW).
Authorized Early Withdrawal allows students to temporarily suspend their immigration status while they are outside the US to more easily return to active status to continue their studies. Students must request AEW prior to withdrawing from class and departing the US. An authorized early withdrawal allows a student a 15 day grace period to depart the U.S. and has no negative implications for the future.
Please note, AEW is an immigration action and does not relieve students of academic or financial obligation.
Steps for Authorized Early Withdrawal
To complete your AEW students must:
- Speak with their Academic and International Student Advisor
- Purchase flight to leave the United States.
- Submit the Authorized Early Withdrawal E-Form in iStart, which is located under the F-1 Student Services tab.
- Submit required attachments.
After receiving confirmation of an approved AEW, students will then:
- Make sure that all necessary steps are taken with the Office of Records and Registration prior to withdrawing from UIS. Your responsibilities prior to withdrawing can be found on the Withdrawing Students page.
- Gather affairs for departure including paying all UIS and personal bills, notifying Residence Life or landlord, leaving a forwarding address with the Post Office.
- Leave the US within 15 days.
When the authorized early withdrawal is processed, the SEVIS record(s) of the student and their dependents will be terminated on the date the student drops their courses. The student’s on-campus employment will also terminate on this date. F-1 students and their dependents are permitted a 15-day grace period in which to depart the U.S. following their SEVIS termination. F-2 dependents are not eligible to remain in the U.S. once the student has departed.
Returning with less than 5 months absence:
- Students should first verify that their visa is not expired.
- Students must contact ISS 60 days before return with a copy of your returning flight itinerary.
- Note: Students may only enter the US 30 days before the following semester. Students must enroll full-time in the following semester even if it is a summer session.
- ISS will submit a correction request to SEVP to return the record to Active status. This will take a few weeks to process.
- The International Student Advisor will notify the student when the SEVIS record is back to Active status. Students will receive an updated I-20, retaining the same SEVIS number.
- Students must submit Immigration Check-In upon return to UIS.
Returning after 5 months absence:
Follow the process to request a new Initial Form I-20. You will receive a new SEVIS ID number and may be required to pay i-901 fee and apply for a new F-1 visa.
Please note that students must contact ISS in the manner described above. Attempted re-entry without following these directions may result in denial at entry and further complications once admitted to the United States.