Students taking Leave of Absence should meet with their international student advisor to discuss the impact of the leave on their F-1 or J-1 immigration status and their plans during their leave.
Time away from Princeton can be defined as: taking a voluntary leave of absence, an authorized withdrawal, suspension or any other circumstance, in which a student chooses not to enroll or is prohibited from enrolling in courses at the University. NOTE: This does not apply to undergraduate students participating in a study abroad program or to graduate students in absentia as you will remain enrolled.
Undergraduate Students - For more information about LOA, refer to the Undergraduate Student Announcement or your Residential College Dean.
Graduate Students - For more information about LOA, refer to the Graduate School website.
Any international student with an F-1/J-1 student visa who leaves Princeton and, therefore, is no longer enrolled at the University is advised of the following:
- Your F-1 and J-1 student immigration status is directly tied to you continuing as a full-time enrolled student.
- If your leave of absence is involuntary, you will need to leave the U.S. prior to your official withdrawal date. If your leave is voluntary you must depart the U.S. within 15 days following the official withdrawal date. Once Davis IC receives notice of your leave, we will provide more details about your departure timeline.
- As of the withdrawal date your current form I-20 or DS-2019, Certificate of Visa Eligibility, will no longer be valid and cannot be used for future travel to the U.S.
- Your F-1/J-1 visa stamp in your passport cannot be used for travel to the U.S. during the leave regardless of the expiration date.
- If you plan to travel to the U.S. after leaving Princeton and prior to readmission, you must enter the U.S. following the regulations of your specific purpose (B1/B2, ESTA, etc.).
- Practical Training! Taking a leave of absence may have an impact on your eligibility to obtain OPT and CPT. Please make sure to discuss this with your international student advisor before deciding to take a leave.
- Please make an appointment with your assigned international advisor to discuss your situation if you have specific questions or concerns.
- Contact your Residential College Dean to begin the Academic readmission process.
- Begin the process of obtaining a new I-20/DS-2019 for readmission at least 3 months in advance of your planned return to Princeton.
- Notify your international student advisor in the Davis IC of your intention to return.
- Davis IC will email you directions to complete and submit the Application for Visa Certificate or documents for reactivation depending on the length of your leave.
- Contact your Department to begin the Academic readmission process. The department will initiate the procedure with the Graduate School.
- After the Graduate School readmits you and issues a new Re-enrollment Reply, notify your international student advisor in the Davis IC of your intention to return and send your Re-enrollment Reply along with additional proof of funding using DocuPort.
- The program start date on your I-20/DS-2019 will not be the date when you initially started your studies at Princeton, but rather the start date of the semester in which you are returning to resume your studies.
- You must pay the SEVIS Fee again. The fee that you paid in the past was associated with your terminated SEVIS record.
- J-1 Visa: You must use the new DS-2019 to reapply for a J-1 visa stamp at a U.S. Embassy/Consulate nearest you regardless of the expiration date of your previous J-1 visa.
- F-1 Visa: If your current F-1 visa is still valid, you should be able to use it to enter the US as long as you have not received notice that it has been cancelled or revoked. The Study in the States website provides guidance on visas and returning from leave on their website. Please note: U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents at the U.S. ports of entry ultimately make the decision to admit students in the U.S. Both EWR and PHL have confirmed they are following the linked valid visa guidance. If your current F-1 visa is expired, you will need to apply for a new F-1 visa.
- You may enter the U.S. no more than 30 days prior to your new program start date.
- Within 15 days of your arrival on campus to resume studies, you must report your arrival to the Davis IC through the online Immigration Check-In form. Entering the U.S., by itself, does not activate your SEVIS record. The record can only be activated after you register for classes in TigerHub and report to Davis IC.
If you will be taking a LOA, leaving the U.S. and resuming your studies within 5 months, the Davis IC may request SEVIS to reactivate your student record up to 60 days prior to the start of the semester. Please be advised that there is a risk that it may take a long time for the SEVIS record to be reactivated.
- You must be readmitted into your academic program and follow all the steps stated in #1-4;
- You must send your travel itinerary to your international student advisor;
- Your international advisor will notify you when your SEVIS record is reactivated;
- You must wait until your international advisor informs you that your SEVIS record is reactivated before returning to the U.S. or you may be denied reentry;
- You may use your current I-20/DS-2019 with a valid travel signature to reenter the U.S. The travel signature on page 2 of your I-20 must be dated within the past year at the time you reenter the U.S.;
- You are NOT required to pay the SEVIS fee or apply for a new visa provided that your current visa stamp is still valid.
F-1 and J-1 Students
- Differences between F-1 and J-1 Status
- Maintaining Status
- On-campus Employment
- Travel Guidance
- Extension of I-20/DS-2019 Form
- Leave of Absence and Readmission
- Termination or Completion of Program
- Transfers To or From Another School
- Spouse and Family Visas
F-1 Students Only
J-1 Students Only