As an international student in F-1 or J-1 status, if you receive permission from OGS for a Reduced Course Load (RCL) due to medical reasons, you are allowed to keep your F-1 or J-1 record active and remain legally in the US. Only twelve months (approximately 3 semesters) of medical leave or reduced course load is allowed, and OGS can only authorize this type of leave for one semester at at time. The deadline to request permission for medical leave or reduced course load is 1 week prior to the last day of the semester since OGS cannot grant permission retroactively.

Learn how to get permission for a medical leave or reduced course load:

Step 1

Apply for and get approval from your school

Contact your department directly to find out about how to get approval. We also recommend that you review NYU's policy on Leave of Absence and Term/Total Withdrawals.

Step 2

Apply for and get approval from OGS

Submit Your Reduced Course Load Permission Request to OGS with a medical letter meeting the following requirements:

  • on medical office letterhead and dated
  • states your name and NYU ID number or your date of birth
  • states that either reduced course load or zero course load is recommended for you for a specific semester due to a temporary illness or medical condition
  • signed by a licensed medical doctor, doctor of osteopathy, or licensed clinical psychologist
  • You can use this template letter to provide to your healthcare practitioner. This medical letter must then be uploaded to the permission request e-form below.

Step 3

Receive your updated I-20 (J-1 students keep the same DS-2019)

Once your request is approved, students in F-1 status will get a new I-20 from our office. Students in J-1 status do not need a new DS-2019 to reflect the medical leave or reduced course load.  Please note:

  • If you will need more time to finish your degree because of your leave of absence or reduced course load, you will also need to apply for an extension before your I-20 or DS-2019 expires.
  • If you need to extend your medical leave of absence or reduced course load for another semester, you must submit a new permission request along with new supporting documents to OGS by the beginning of the next semester.
  • If you no longer need Medical RCL permission after you have been approved, then you must contact OGS immediately so that we may update your record to reflect your continued eligibility for the appropriate amount of Medical RCL at your degree level. 

Step 4

Get approval from your school to return

If you received approval from your school for a leave, then contact your department directly to find out about how to get approval to return to your program. 

If you are returning to the US from abroad, then you must use your most recent I-20 or DS-2019 to return to the US with a valid travel signature. If the signature on your I-20 or DS-2019 will be more than a year old by the time you reenter the US, you need to get a new signature before you travel.