Leave of Absence (LOA)
Provided you are in good academic standing, SF State allows continuing students to be absent for one semester and still be eligible to return to the University the following semester. Students are not eligible for a LOA during their initial semester of attendance at SF State. If you are considering taking a LOA, please check with the University Registrar鈥檚 Office first, to ensure you are eligible for continued study at SF State the following semester. Also, if you are currently on academic probation, it is highly suggested that you meet with an academic advisor in your major department to determine how missing one semester will affect your academic standing. Students who choose to take time off from their academic program must submit a Leave of Absence Form to OIP. Since continued F-1 status requires full-time enrollment during the fall and spring semesters, students are not eligible to remain in the US while taking a LOA.
Requesting a Leave of Absence with OIP
Complete and sign the Leave of Absence Form. Submit this form to an OIP advisor during the designated drop-in hours. The advisor will explain what you need to do in order to return to the US in F-1 status (the following semester). You will be issued an initial attendance I-20 for the following term. The advisor will explain the restrictions on returning to the US using an initial attendance I-20. Your SEVIS record will be terminated and you will be required to leave the U.S. within 15 days. In most instances, taking a LOA will require a student to renew his/her visa prior to returning to the US. Students that are outside of the US for 5 or more months are required to renew their visa prior to returning to the US. You may not return to the US any sooner than 30 days before the start date of the following semester (this date will be listed on the newly-issued I-20).
Returning to SF State
Continuing students who file a LOA for one semester are still considered continuing students and do not need to re-apply for admission. Continuing students who miss two consecutive semesters would need to re-apply for admissions to the University.
Study Abroad and Research/Thesis Abroad
Students who are leaving the U.S. to complete a certified CSU/SF State Bilateral Program or to complete their research/thesis abroad (graduate students only) are still considered continuing students. Students in either of these categories are still required to submit the Leave of Absence Form prior to leaving the U.S.