As an international student, you must maintain your F-1 visa status by remaining enrolled as a full-time student every term that you are working toward your degree.
The summer term is considered an acceptable break from academics. As such, summer is the only time when you're allowed to stay in the US and not be enrolled in classes. You are not authorized to take a different term off and still remain in the US.
What If I Need to Take a Leave of Absence?Should you choose to leave the university during the academic year, there could be serious consequences, including possible loss of F-1 benefits, including Optional Practical Training (OPT) and/or Curricular Practical Training (internships).
In case of an emergency where you may need to return home unexpectedly during the academic year, you must first meet with your international student advisor to discuss the process.
If you have any questions about taking a term off or would like to talk over the process with us, contact your international student advisor to set up an appointment.
What Happens to Your F-1 StatusIf you think you might have to take a break from your schooling, the government site Study in the States offers comprehensive information and resources on immigration rules during a leave of absence.