Leave of Absence

Leave of Absence (LOA) and Visa Status of F-1/J-1 Students

Consult Academic Advisor

A student should consult with his or her academic advisor and get authorization prior to taking an LOA. There are different forms required for graduate and undergraduate students.

Consult ISS Advisor

The absence will affect a student’s visa status, so he or she must notify an ISS advisor about the leave, even if a form does not require an ISS advisor signature.

Return on Same SEVIS Record

If the semester of the student’s return has a start date that is less than 5 months from the SEVIS report, then the student’s SEVIS record may be reactivated, so that he may return to the U.S. on the current I‐20/DS‐2019, with valid visa and passport. The student should contact ISS at least within 60 days of the semester start date to request a re‐activation.

Return on New SEVIS Record

If the start date of the return semester is more than 5 months from the SEVIS termination, the student must request a new I‐20/DS‐2019 from ISS. This process creates a new SEVIS record to replace the terminated record. A new SEVIS I‐901 fee must be paid, and a new visa may be required (consult home country U.S. Embassy). The student should contact ISS at least within 60 days of the semester start date to request a new I‐20/DS‐2019.


If students on LOA return to UH Manoa after remaining abroad for five months or longer , they are no longer eligible for Curricular Practical Training (CPT) and/or Optional Practical Training (OPT) until they have maintained valid F-1 status for a minimum of two (2) semesters after returning to the U.S.

Return during LOA

If the student plans to return to the U.S. during the LOA, it may be possible to return in another visa status, but he should not try to enter on the terminated record.

Change in LOA

If an LOA is shortened or extended, consult with an ISS advisor to determine any impacts on the process and timeframe to regain the student visa status.

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What is a Leave of Absence?

A leave of absence is an temporary break from studies, usually for one or two semesters. An LOA approved by the school allows a student to keep his or her academic position upon return to studies.

Read UH Mānoa undergraduate student leave policy.

Read UH Mānoa graduate student leave policy.