LoA- Leave of Absence

U.S. Immigration law allows students to return F-1 (student) visa status if they must depart the U.S. unexpectedly, remain outside the U.S. for a period of less than 5 months, resume classes the next available semester, AND arrive no earlier than the 30 day period prior to the start date of classes for the semester for which they intend to enroll. MSU policy for returning students further states that students must provide MSU with updated financial support documents (bank statement and statement of financial support); and may need to re-apply for admission. Your SEVIS record will be temporarily inactivated. You will only be able to return once it has been reactivated. The following would be required from most students in order to reactivate their I-20 and return to the U.S. in F-1 status within 5 months:

If LoA occurs during FALL semester:

Complete LoA form upon departure or as soon as you realize you will not be able to return to MSU. The dates below are an estimate and will fluctuate based on the start date for Spring classes.

  1. You must email Kristina Guinn (KristinaGuinn@MissouriState.edu) by approximately November 11, to request correction to your SEVIS record to return for the following Spring semester.
  2. Return to the U.S. between approximately December 11  and January 11 (if your SEVIS record is corrected by December 11, that is. You may arrive in the 30 day period prior to the start of classes.
  3. If you wish to escalate the speed of the request, you must provide me with a visa appointment confirmation or travel itinerary.
  4. Travel with your newest I-20 (please request to have a travel signature prior to your departure).
  5. You may need to re-apply for admission if you were un-enrolled (not attending) classes for one semester.

If LoA occurs during SPRING semester (must return to U.S. AND enroll in Summer classes to retain F-1 status):

Complete LoA form upon departure or as soon as you realize you will not be able to return to MSU. The dates below are an estimate and will fluctuate based on the start date for Summer classes. You must enroll in one "traditional" summer class to return for summer semester.

  1. Return to the U.S. between May 7 and June 6 (if your SEVIS record is corrected by May 7, that is).
  2. You must email Kristina Guinn (KristinaGuinn@MissouriState.edu) by April 6 to request correction to your SEVIS record.
  3. If you wish to escalate the speed of the request, you must provide me with a visa appointment confirmation or travel itinerary.
  4. Travel with your newest I-20 (please request to have a travel signature prior to your departure).
  5. You may need to re-apply for admission if you were un-enrolled (not attending) classes for one semester.
  6. MUST enroll in Summer class (3 credit hours minimum). Enrollment in the class may be mandatory prior to reactivating SEVIS record.

If you remain outside the U.S for OVER 5 MONTHS, you cannot return with your current SEVIS number. In order to return to the U.S., you will need to provide the following:

Complete LoA form upon departure or as soon as you realize you will not be able to return to MSU.

  1. Submit a new application for admission.
  2. Submit new financial documents.
  3. You will also need a new I-20 with a new SEVIS number (you will lose any time you’ve accrued in your present visa status, which means you’ll have to study in the U.S. for two semesters before you can apply for OPT, CPT or any other immigration “benefit”.)

Generally, there is no reason to take a Leave of Absence for Summer semester since summer enrollment is not required for most international students.

Questions

As soon as it becomes apparent that you may need to take a Leave of Absence, read the above instruction and please email KristinaGuinn@MissouriState.edu to notify her of your LoA. If you must re-apply for admission, the appropriate Admission Evaluator will be able to respond to your questions concerning the status of your application status and new I-20 status.