News Calendar About Statistics FAQs Contact Links
 International Students & Scholars Office
 Students Scholars Administrators
Prospective Students
Current Students
  General Information
  F-1 Students
    Maintaining Status
    Rights and Responsibilities
    Social Security Card
    Visa Renewal
  J-1 Students
  Address Change

Leave of Absence, Suspension or Withdrawal from Boston University

While in the United States in F-1 status, you must remain continuously enrolled for a full-course of study at Boston University until you have completed your academic program.  If you interrupt your studies, your I-20 will become invalid and you will not be eligible to remain in the United States in F-1 status. 

IMPORTANT: If you are currently working on- or off-campus, you must cease employment immediately.

Please contact the ISSO before you interrupt your studies for any of the follow reasons:

  1. You are planning to request an official leave of absence (LOA) from the University during the Fall or Spring semester.

  2. You are being suspended (or are under review for suspension).  OR

  3. You are planning to withdraw from all of your classes at any point during the Fall or Spring semester (or Summer Term if it is your initial semester of study).

Exception: Authorization for Medical Leave of Absence
In the event you are suffering from an illness or other medical condition that compels you to interrupt your studies at Boston University, you can request authorization for a medical LOA from the ISSO.  The medical leave of absence authorization will enable you to maintain valid F-1 status during the time you are not enrolled.  (NOTE: If you only need to reduce your course load below full-time for medical reasons, click here.)

Other Legal Options
If you are not requesting a medical LOA, consult with an ISSO advisor about the following options to remain in legal status:

  1. Enroll for full-time study at another U.S. college or university that can issue you an I-20 to transfer your F-1 status to that school.  You must enroll for non-degree study at the new school if you intend to return to your degree program at Boston University.

  2. File an application with the USCIS to change to an immigration status that will allow you to remain in the U.S. while you are not studying (e.g. B-2 visitor status, or a dependent status such as F-2 or H-4).

  3. Depart the United States in a timely manner.
Returning to Boston University to Resume Studies
Unless you have been authorized for a medical LOA, you must contact the ISSO and request a new I-20 to return to Boston University in order to resume studies in F-1 status.


Boston University
February 28, 2005

Boston University International Students & Scholars Office