I am currently enrolled in a program of study in F-1 status. Due to some family issues, I have to skip the next semester and leave the U.S. for about 6 months. What do I need to do to be able to come back?


You should discuss your situation with your DSO and inform him/her about having to be outside of the U.S. for an extended period. Since you have to leave the U.S. for five months or more, you will need to come back to the U.S. with a new I-20 issued for initial entry and a new SEVIS number. You will also need to pay a new SEVIS I-901 fee. Though this may not be required, the Department of State recommends that you apply for a new visa, even if you still have a facially valid F-1 visa in your passport, to minimize possible problems with reentry. (01.Jul.2016)

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