Take a Leave of Absence

leave of absence

Need to take a personal or medical leave of absence from your studies at NYU? As an international student, if you decide to take a leave of absence, withdraw from your program, or are given a suspension, you must contact the OGS immediately to discuss your immediate plans and any plans you may have to return.  

If you will register for even on course during the Fall or Spring semester, instead find out how you can register part-time.

Personal Leave of Absence

You need to let us know if you:

  • take a leave due to personal reasons (including military leave), 
  • withdraw, 
  • are given a suspension,
  • or you are dismissed from your program.

We can then further explain to you in detail what your options are, based on your situation. If you are an F-1 student, you must submit a request to end your F-1 status. If you are a J-1 student, you must contact us and provide details of your situation.

If and when you decide to return to NYU, you must discuss your return with your academic advisor/department. You will then need to apply for a new I-20 or DS-2019 from the OGS at least three months prior to your intended return to NYU.

Returning from a personal leave of absence

In order to apply for a new I-20 or DS-2019 you must:

Step 1

Compile your application for a new I-20 or DS-2019.

Your application must include:

  • Application for I-20 or DS-2019 to Return to NYU after Leave of Absence
  • A letter from your school or department on department letterhead that indicates you are eligible to return to the program. This letter should include your full name and NYU ID number and should also specify what your new anticipated completion date is DD/MM/YY and the number of credits remaining.
  • Updated financial documentation showing that you have financial resources to cover the year ahead. If your department is funding you, then the letter from your department should also include what your stipend is and if they are covering your registration and health insurance fees. You can also refer to the estimated table of expenses to see what amount you need to have in order to be eligible for a new I-20 or DS-2019.
  • A copy of the photo page of your passport.
  • A receipt of payment to ship your new I-20 or DS-2019 to you. You can pay the shipping fee on the OGS ePayments Page.
  • If your return date to the US will be less than 5 months from your departure date, include documentation to show your departure date.

Step 2

Receive your new I-20 or DS-2019.

We take about four weeks to get your new document to you once you send us a complete application with all supporting documents.

Step 3

Pay the SEVIS fee if applicable.

If you have been outside of the US for more than five months, complete the Form I-901 in order to pay.

Dependents in F-2 or J-2 status are not required to pay the fee.

Step 4

Get your F-1 or J-1 visa.

If you have been outside of the US for more than five months, apply for a new visa. See our get a new visa page for detailed instructions.

Step 5
Return to the US in F-1 status.

You may enter the US up to 30 days before the start date on your new I-20. Review the list of documents to carry when traveling.

Step 6

Complete the OGS arrival form and submit your immigration information to OGS Online once you're back in the US.

You will need to have copies (pdf or jpg) of these documents available to complete the form:

  • Passport
  • F-1 or J-1 visa (except for citizens of Canada and Bermuda)
  • I-94 record
  • I-20 or DS-2019
  • Your dependent's documents (if you have a spouse or children here with you as F-2 or J-2 dependents)

Important: Please remember, in order to be eligible to apply to work off-campus, you must again be a full-time student for two semesters once you are back from your leave of absence.
If you have been outside of the US for less than five months, speak to an OGS advisor about your eligibility.


Medical Leave of Absence

If you take a leave of absence due to medical reasons

You are allowed to keep your F-1 or J-1 record active and remain legally in the US as long as you register for the semester directly following your approved medical leave. Only twelve months of medical leave is allowed, and we can only authorize this type of leave for one semester at at time.

Learn how to get authorized for a medical leave of absence:

Step 1

Apply for and get approval from your school.

Contact your department directly to find out about how to get approval.

Step 2

Apply for and get approval from the OGS.

You must show the OGS both the approval from your school and a note from a licensed medical doctor, doctor of osteopathy, or licensed clinical psychologist. The note need not state a diagnosis, but must state that reduced course load (or zero course load) is recommended for you for a given semester due to a temporary illness or medical condition. If you need to take a leave for the Spring or Fall semester, submit your request for a medical leave.

Step 3

Receive your updated I-20 or DS-2019.

Within two weeks of submitting a complete application, you will get a new document from our office. If you will need more time to finish your degree because of your leave of absence, you will also need to apply for an extension before your I-20 or DS-2019 expires.

If you need to apply to extend your medical leave of absence for another semester, you must submit all new documents to the OGS by the beginning of the next semester.