Taking a Leave of Absence
We understand that some students may not be able (or may not choose) to enroll full-time for the Fall 2020 semester. For information about how this would affect your immigration record and academic options, please see below.
Note: this information does not apply to students who will enroll online in a full course load at OU from abroad.
You are allowed (but not required) to enroll in OU classes online from abroad. If you would like to do this, please contact your academic department for advising.
If you will not enroll in a full course load (12 hours for undergraduate students, 9 hours for graduate students, and 5 hours for graduate students with Graduate Assistantships) from abroad, please speak with your academic advisor and your department to understand the policy and requirements on taking a semester off. If you take more than one semester off, you may have to apply to OU for readmission.
Since you will not be enrolled in a full course of study, ICE policy requires ISS to terminate your F-1 SEVIS record for Authorized Early Withdrawal (this is a nonnegative termination reason and should not hurt future US visa applications or applications for immigration benefits).
If you will return to the US within 5 months, you can request to have your SEVIS record reactivated. This means you can use the same I-20 but will need a valid travel signature. Contact your ISS advisor about how to reactivate your SEVIS record and receive a travel signature.
If you will return to the US after more than 5 months, you will need a new initial I-20 issued with a new SEVIS ID. This means that you will have to pay the I-901 SEVIS fee again and you will not be eligible for CPT or OPT until you have enrolled full-time for one academic year following your return from your leave.