I am a student in F-1 status. I had to travel to my home country in the middle of my second / spring semester because of a family emergency. …

… My DSO authorized an early withdrawal for me and told me that I needed to come back to school and enroll in classes within five months after the date of my departure. I came back just before a regular summer break, after spending three months outside of the U.S. Do I need to take a full load of classes in the summer or can I take the summer off and start taking classes again in the fall?


An F-1 student who takes a leave of absence, has to enroll in full-time classwork no later than five months from the date of the early withdrawal authorization. Since the fall semester starts more than five months since the early withdrawal date, you would have to enroll in the summer session, which starts within the required five-month period. If you do decide to wait for the fall session to enroll, you would have to start again as a new initial student with a new SEVIS number and a new I-20. This may result in an interruption of your F-1 status. (07.Aug.2015)

Questions frequently reach us from students on a variety of matters. This is a sample question, answered by an attorney in our firm. More information can be found in the student section of MurthyDotCom.

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