Maintaining Student Status / Leaving California State University, Fullerton

Leaving California State University, Fullerton

 

As an F-1 degree student, it is your responsibility to understand and comply with the terms of your immigration status. These responsibilities include reporting to ISS about your leave from CSUF and/or your departure from the United States.

Below are different types of leave and how to report them to ISS. If you cannot find the type of leave that suits your situation, please make an appointment with an ISS advisor.

Taking a leave of absence for 1-2 semesters

CSUF permits students to take an official Leave of Absence for one or two semesters and return to complete their studies without reapplying to the University. If you plan to be absent for more than two semesters, refer to taking a leave of absence for 3 or more semesters.

In order to qualify for an approved Leave of Absence, students must be in good academic standing (not on probation or academically disqualified). You must file Leave of Absence paperwork with the appropriate University department and work closely with ISS to maintain your I-20 during your leave. Please refer to the undergraduate and graduate student procedures below.

  1. Visit the Registration and Records Leave of Absence website and review the requirements to file a Leave of Absence. Note that international students do not qualify for a stop-out semester.
  2. Fill out the Request for Leave of Absence form and schedule an appointment with an ISS Advisor.
  3. Bring the completed paperwork to your appointment with your international student advisor.
  1. Visit the Graduate Studies Office Enrollment Policies page and review the requirements for a Leave of Absence.
  2. Fill out the Leave of Absence form and schedule an appointment with an ISS Advisor.
  3. Bring the completed paperwork to your appointment with your international student advisor.

Taking a leave of absence for 3 semesters or more

If you plan take a Leave of Absence for three semesters or more and would like to return to complete your degree in the future, please fill out the Exit Form and select “I will be take a leave of absence from CSUF for 3 semesters or more.” You will also need to attach your flight itinerary as proof of departure from the U.S.

Per University policy, CSUF will not be able to hold your seat at the University for three or more semesters and your status will change to "discontinued." If you wish to return after 3 or more semesters, you must reapply and regain admission to the University in order to continue your studies.

Transferring to another U.S. school

If you would like to transfer your SEVIS record to another U.S. school, submit a completed F-1 Transfer Out form in person to the ISS office along with a copy of the new school’s official admission letter or email.

Important considerations:

  • Academic progress is essential to maintaining your visa status. If you are transferring to a new school, it should be either to continue progress towards your current degree level or to complete a higher level of education. Your request for a transfer may be denied if it does not meet this requirement.
  • If you are graduating or transferring at the end of a term, you must start your new school at the next available term or within 5 months after the end of the transfer term, whichever is soonest. For example, if you graduate CSUF in Spring 2018, you must start your new school in Summer 2018 if the new school admits students for that term. If they do not admit students for Summer 2018, you must begin in Fall 2018. You cannot delay your start at the new school until Spring 2019 because that is more than 5 months after the end of the Spring 2018 term.
  • If you are transferring to another school after the start of the CSUF semester, you must start at your new school immediately or within the same term.

Leaving CSUF without completing your academic program

If you plan to leave CSUF without completing your academic program and do not plan to return, please fill out the Exit Form and select “I will not complete my degree program and will leave the U.S.” You will also need to attach your flight itinerary as proof of departure from the U.S.

After receiving the form, ISS will close your SEVIS record. You must leave the U.S. immediately or within 15 days after ISS approves your request.

Graduating from CSUF and leaving the U.S. after graduation

If you are completing your degree program from CSUF and will leave the U.S. after graduation, please fill out the Exit Form and select “I will complete my degree program and will leave the U.S. after graduation.” Fill out the form only if you are completing your degree program and will not apply for OPT or transfer to another school. You will also need to attach your flight itinerary as proof of departure from the U.S.

Important Considerations:

  • F-1 students have a 60 day grace period from the date of program completion to remain in the U.S.
  • If you exit the U.S. during your grace period, including short travel to Mexico or Canada, your immigration record will be considered “complete” and you can no longer re-enter the U.S. in F-1 status. If you are considering traveling outside of the U.S. during your grace period, make sure that you will not need to return to the U.S. or make arrangements to return to the U.S. in another visa status or on a visa waiver.

Withdrawing a pending OPT or STEM OPT application and leaving the U.S.

If you have a pending OPT or STEM OPT application with USCIS, but have decided to withdraw your application and leave the U.S., please fill out the Exit Form and select “I have a pending OPT or STEM OPT application but want to withdraw my request and leave the U.S.” You will need to include information about your USCIS application, including date mailed and receipt number, if applicable. You must also attach your flight itinerary as proof of departure from the U.S.

Important Considerations:

  • If you notify ISS early enough, we may be able to withdraw your application with USCIS, which will make you eligible to use that benefit in the future. Schedule an appointment with an advisor if this may pertain to your case.
  • If you are withdrawing an OPT application, you must leave the U.S. no later than 60 days after your program end date on your I-20. If you are withdrawing the OPT application after the end of the 60 day grace period, you must leave as soon as possible.
  • If you are withdrawing a STEM OPT application, you must leave the U.S. no later than 60 days after the OPT EAD end date. If you are withdrawing after the end of the 60 day grace period, you must leave as soon as possible. Furthermore, if you withdraw your STEM OPT application you cannot legally work past the expiration of your OPT EAD. 

Ending approved OPT or STEM OPT benefit early and leaving the U.S.

If you are on approved OPT or STEM OPT but have decided to end the your benefit early and leave the U.S., please fill out the Exit Form and select “I am currently on approved OPT or STEM OPT, but want to end my employment benefit early and leave the U.S.” You will also need to include information about your EAD start and end dates and attach your flight itinerary as proof of departure from the U.S.

After submitting this form, ISS will close your SEVIS record. We will end your SEVIS record effective the date you indicate you plan to leave the U.S. or the date you notify us, whichever is later. After submitting the above form and receiving approval from ISS, you are no longer permitted to work or remain in the U.S. on F-1 status.

We are Here to Help

If you cannot find the type of leave that suits your situation, please book an appointment to meet with one of our ISS Advisors. If you have questions that are not addressed on this page, please use the Contact Us button below to send an email to ISS and we will get back to you with an answer.

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