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Leave of Absence, Suspension or Withdrawal from Boston University

[NOTE: The following information is only applicable to J-1 students whose DS-2019 has been issued by Boston University.  If an Exchange Visitor Program sponsor other than Boston University issued your DS-2019 (as indicated in section 2 of your document), you must contact the Responsible Officer of your program.]

While in the United States in J-1 student status, you must remain continuously enrolled for a full-course of study at Boston University until you have completed your academic program.  Depending on your situation, your DS-2019 could become invalid if you discontinue your studies at Boston University without prior authorization from the ISSO, and you will not be eligible to remain in the United States in J-1 status.

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

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). 


  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 that will enable you to remain in the U.S. in lawful J-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 requesting an LOA for anything other than medical reasons, consult with an ISSO advisor about your eligibility for 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 a DS-2019 to transfer your J-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. If you are not subject to the 2-year home country physical presence requirement, 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 may be required to request a new DS-2019 to return to Boston University from the ISSO in order to resume studies in J-1 status.


Boston University
February 28, 2005

Boston University International Students & Scholars Office