If you plan to leave Brandeis either before or after you complete your degree, your immigration status will be affected. It is important to speak with your Academic Advisor/Program Coordinator and your ISSO Advisor about any change to your academic program BEFORE you make the change.
This includes graduating, taking a leave of absence, withdrawing from the University, or transferring to another U.S. school during your degree program or after graduation.
Once you have completed your degree program at Brandeis you will have a grace period to prepare for your departure from the U.S.
F-1 students have a 60-day grace period. During this grace period, you may remain in the U.S. to prepare for your departure, you can apply for a transfer to another U.S. school, you can apply for Optional Practical Training, or you can change to another immigration status.
No employment is allowed during this time. You may not be eligible for travel and re-entry to the U.S. in F-1 status during this time. Please consult with your ISSO Advisor.
J-1 students have a 30-day grace period. During this grace period, you may remain in the U.S. to prepare for your departure. All other changes to your academic program including transferring to another U.S. institution or applying for Academic Training must be made BEFORE your program completion date.
Students in F-1 or J-1 status are required to register full-time each semester to maintain their status. If you need to interrupt your studies, by taking a leave of absence or withdrawing from Brandeis University, please consult with your ISSO Advisor before making a final decision. It is important to discuss how these actions may affect your immigration status and work eligibility.
When taking an Leave of Absence (LOA), students will have the following options:
- Depart the U.S. within 15 days of the LOA effective date
- Be accepted to another U.S. school and request a transfer of your SEVIS record to the new school.
- Request a Reduced Course Load due to medical reasons
- Change to another immigration status (if eligible)
Taking an LOA or withdrawing from the University may affect your off-campus work authorization eligibility upon return to the University. Students who reenter the U.S. after an LOA will need to return in “Initial Status” and will need to be enrolled for at least two consecutive semesters of study before being eligible for Curricular Practical Training (CPT) or Optional Practical Training (OPT).
Process for Leave of Absence/Withdrawal
- Contact your Academic Advisor (undergraduate students) or Program Advisor (graduate students) to discuss the university process and procedures.
- Once the LOA or Withdrawal is approved, your SEVIS record will be terminated and updated in SEVIS to reflect the reason for the interruption of studies.
Process for Return from Leave of Absence
- Once you have been approved by your Academic Advisor or Department to return to Brandeis University, please notify your ISSO advisor.
- Your ISSO advisor will invite you to complete a Visa Information and Declaration of Finances (VIDOF) form in the ISSO Portal to request a new Form I-20.
- After you submit your VIDOF, your ISSO advisor will provide you with a new Form I-20 with a start date of the semester you plan to return.
- Since you will be returning to the U.S. in “Initial Status”, you will not be eligible to enter the U.S. more than 30 days before the start date listed on your Form I-20.
If you are completing or leaving your current Brandeis program or ending your OPT/STEM OPT and you have been accepted to another U.S. school, you may be eligible to transfer your SEVIS record to another U.S. school.
Students in F-1 Status
A student in F-1 status, enrolled or on OPT/STEM OPT, may be eligible for a SEVIS record transfer to a new school. The SEVIS transfer is initiated by the student, processed by Brandeis University, and completed by the new school.
- You have been accepted at another U.S. school
- You have been maintaining your F-1 visa status
- Your new program begins within 5 months of completing your Brandeis program or the last day of your OPT/STEM OPT.
- You request a SEVIS Transfer within 60 days of your program completion date or the last day of OPT/STEM OPT.
How to Request a SEVIS Transfer
- Login to the ISSO Portal, go to the Requests & Documents tab and click on the Transfer Out icon. This is the official mechanism to notify ISSO of your intent to transfer.
- In the Transfer Out request, you will need to:
- Upload your admission letter to the new school and the new school's transfer-in form (if any).
- Choose your SEVIS record release date. The SEVIS record release date can be any date from your graduation/completion date up to 60 days after that date.
- If you are on OPT/STEM OPT your employment must end before your SEVIS record release date.
- If you are eligible for the transfer, your SEVIS record will be released to your new school on the SEVIS record release date you indicate.
- Your new school will complete your F-1 transfer in SEVIS and issue you a new Form I-20.
Students in J-1 Status
A student in J-1 status may be eligible for a SEVIS record transfer to a new school if the purpose of the transfer is to complete the academic objective for which they were admitted.
The J-1 transfer process requires careful coordination between several different parties, including the current school, the new school, and the student. The transfer process must be initiated BEFORE the student's program completion date.
Contact your ISSO Advisor if you plan to transfer to a new U.S. school.
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