Students planning to take a Leave of Absence (LOA) from their academic program must notify The Office of International Education in advance of the LOA taking effect. According to U.S. law, F-1 students must depart the United States as soon as the Leave of Absence begins. Please meet with a member of The Office of International Education staff to discuss your plans before you leave Baltimore. You also need to meet with your Academic Advisor to discuss your options on your LOA.

At the Start of Your LOA

If you will spend your LOA outside the United States, simply depart the U.S. as soon as your LOA takes effect. If you plan to be inside the United States during your LOA, you will be required by U.S. law to change your immigration status to a status other than F-1. You may do so by filing a Form I-539 with the Dept. of Homeland Security, but you must keep your visa F-1 status current while you wait for the Change of Status.

Returning to MICA After Your LOA

  • Re-admittance to MICA: Confirm your re-admittance with MICA’s Enrollment Services

  • Do I need a new I-20? As soon as your LOA takes effect, you will be considered to be ‘out of F-1 status’. You will be considered to be ‘in F-1 status’ on the first day of your first semester back at MICA.  Students who will be out of F-1 status for more than 5 months will be required to apply for and obtain a new I-20 with a new SEVIS ID from International Education, and pay a new SEVIS fee prior to continuing their studies. This application includes the submission of financial documents that prove that you can cover MICA tuition and cost-of-living.
  • Students who will be out of F-1 status for under five months prior to continuing their studies and contact MICA in reasonable time may be permitted to enter the USA using an existing I-20. 
  • Do I need a new visa?  If your current visa is no longer valid, you will possibly need to apply for a new student visa.

For more information on Returning from a Leave of Absence, visit Study In the States.