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J-1 Complete Withdrawal and Leave of Absence


A leave of absence is when you take a break from your studies for one semester or more. This normally means you must depart the United States. An exception exists when course withdrawal is recommended by a U.S. physician due to a medical condition.

Withdrawing from Classes

Before withdrawing from classes it is extremely important to obtain advance approval from ISO. You can notify us and request approval by emailing You should notify us if

  • If you are withdrawing mid-semester during Spring or Fall
  • If you will not enroll for a future Fall or Spring semester

Leave of Absence Due to a Medical Condition

If you will withdraw from classes due to a medical condition, you must apply for ISO permission first. This requires a recommendation from a U.S. licensed physician. 

Learn more about full-time enrollment exceptions>>

If approved for a medical leave of absence, you may stay in the United States if you wish. Your SEVIS record will remain active, so you may depart and re-enter the U.S. as needed. Please make sure to inform an ISO advisor of your plans.

Returning to the U.S. After a Leave of Absence

Before returning to the U.S. make sure to contact an international student advisor to make sure that your SEVIS record is active and your DS-2019 is properly endorsed. The ISO will need copies of your new I-94 once you return.

Applying for Re-admission After a Leave of Absence

If you have been absent from WKU for 2 semesters or more, then you are required to apply for re-admission as a returning student.

If you were forced to take a leave of absence due to academic dismissal, then you will need to apply to your academic school for a reinstatement of your academic status.


If you have questions about how your absence will affect your status at WKU, or if you wish to discuss your plans further, you may call the ISO at 270-745-4857 to make an appointment with an advisor, or email us at


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 Last Modified 11/15/16