Authorized Early Withdrawal

To remain in status as an F-1 or J-1 student, you must enroll full-time each fall and spring semester. If you need to take a semester off, end your studies or depart the US for an emergency, you may request an authorized early withdrawal (AEW). Once authorized early withdraw has been approved for your SEVIS record, you must leave the U.S. within 15 days. Please note that your Authorized Early Withdrawal is a class of termination, but it is one that can be re-activated 30 days before you plan to return to the U.S if your time out of the US is less than 5 months.

Steps for Completing Authorized Early Withdrawal

To complete your AEW you must take the following steps:

  1. Purchase your flight tickets to leave the United States. ISS will not authorize you for AEW without a copy of your flight itinerary.
  2. Visit an International Student Advisor with a copy of your flight itinerary, this completed form, passport and I-20 or DS-2019.
  3. Submit your withdraw form to the Office of Records and notify your academic department.
  4. Gather your affairs for your departure. Check with the following entities and offices to be sure you are leaving with a clean record:
    • Notify your academic department that you plan to take a leave of absence from the program. Each department may have a different process for requesting a leave of absence.
    • Pay remaining balance with Student Accounts. You may be required to pay for the semester even if you are completely withdrawing from class.
    • End your housing arrangements either with the Housing Office of with your landlord. If you are breaking your lease, beware that you will be required to pay extra fees or fines.
  5. Leave the U.S. within 15 days.


Applying for Authorized Early Withdrawal is only settling your immigration situation for departure. Completing this form:

  • Does not withdraw you from your courses
  • Does not settle your academic or financial affairs
  • Does not guarantee your return to the U.S.

Returning to the United States after Authorized Early Withdrawal 

If you have requested Authorized Early Withdrawal before departing the U.S., your immigration record has been temporarily terminated. You must take action to request a correction to bring your record back to active for a successful return to the U.S. Methods of return will vary based on the time that you have been outside the United States.

After 5 months outside the U.S. on a terminated I-20 or DS-2019, your visa will no longer be active for travel, regardless of the expiration date. 

Returning with less than 5 months absence:

  1. Check your visa to be sure it is unexpired. If you have been outside the U.S. more than 5 months, your visa automatically expires regardless of the expiration date.
  2. Contact ISS 30 days before your return with a copy of your returning flight itinerary. Complete the Returning portion of this form.
  3. ISS will submit a correction request to SEVP to return your record to Active status. This may take 2-3 weeks, so do not delay to contact your International Student Advisor.
  4. Your International Student Advisor will notify you when your SEVIS record is back to Active status with notice that you may now enter the U.S. with the same SEVIS record that you left with. Your SEVIS record will remain the same.
  5. Report to ISS with your immigration documents and your new I-94 (available at Your record will not be activated without proof of entry (I-94).

Returning after 5 months absence:

  1. Your current Visa and SEVIS record will expire once it is terminated for 5 months.
  2. Contact ISS 30 days prior to your return. Request a new SEVIS record and submit new financial statements.
  3. If eligible, we will issue you a new SEVIS record and send it to your home country (with your choice of delivery).
  4. You must complete the following before returning to the U.S.
    • Receive a new I-20 or DS-2019
    • Pay a new I-901 SEVIS fee ($200)
    • Apply for and receive a new visa
  5. Report to ISS with your immigration documents and your new I-94 (available at Your record will not be activated without proof of entry (I-94).

Please note that you must contact ISS in the manner described above. Attempted re-entry without following these directions may result in denial at entry and further complications once you are in the United States.