SUBMITTING A STUDENT EXIT FORM
Any international student who is leaving Pratt, either temporarily or permanently, and/or exiting their F-1 status, should submit the International Student Exit Form to OIA. This form gives our Designated School Official (DSO) the necessary information to take action on your F-1 SEVIS record. Please complete only the applicable sections of this form for your exit circumstance.
TAKING LEAVE OF ABSENCE OR WITHDRAWING FROM PRATT
A leave of absence is often called LOA at Pratt and some students refer to it as a “gap year.” Students are eligible to request one or two semesters of leave. Students in their first semester are not eligible for an LOA and will be withdrawn instead.
Withdrawing is a more permanent leave. If you withdraw, you will need to apply for readmission in order to return. The Registrar is in charge of LOA/withdrawal policy and may grant an exception if you need longer leave for mandatory military service in your home country.
If you are thinking of taking time off, OIA recommends you consult with your academic/departmental advisor about how taking time off will impact your academic progress and your future return. For example, based on course sequencing you may not be able to take one semester off, it may need to be a full year before you return.
Read all the info under “termination of F-1 status” below, including the link about CPT/OPT eligibility before moving forward. When you are absolutely sure you wish to take a leave of absence or withdraw, you should submit the eForm.
We recommend students submit the LOA/withdrawal before the first day of classes, because otherwise you will have to pay some of your tuition bill for that semester. The amount you will need to pay gets higher the farther in the semester you take the LOA. You can contact Student Financial Services if you have questions about this.
After you submit the LOA/withdrawal request, it will take some time to be signed electronically by various offices, and you will receive notification after the final step, when the Registrar approves the form. That process can take anywhere from several days to several weeks.
TERMINATION OF F-1 STATUS
An OIA DSO is required to terminate your current SEVIS I-20 after you request LOA/withdrawal from Pratt. This means your current F-1 status will be ended, for a neutral reason called “Authorized Early Withdrawal.”
This termination reason should not cause problems for your immigration future. However, it has important implications on your future eligibility for practical training (CPT/OPT). Please make sure you understand how this relates to your future plans after you return to Pratt to complete your studies, before you request the LOA/withdrawal.
You have a 15 day grace period after submitting the LOA/withdrawal form to remain in valid F-1 status. Therefore, you should make plans to exit the U.S. so that you leave within the 15 days following your submission of the LOA/withdrawal request. Remember you also need to submit OIA’s Exit Form.
One exception to termination of F-1 status is if you are admitted to a new academic program in the U.S. and wish to transfer your F-1 status to that school. In this case, you should request the transfer-out with OIA before you submit the LOA/withdrawal request.
The other exception to termination of F-1 status is if you have a bonafide medical situation that requires treatment in the U.S. and prevents you from engaging in study altogether. If you feel this is your situation, you should reach out to Pratt’s Student Advocate and Care Coordinator, who will assess your situation and coordinate with OIA as needed.
RETURNING WITHIN FIVE MONTHS
If there is less than five months between when you submitted the LOA/withdrawal request and the start date of the semester in which you want to return, you may be eligible for an OIA DSO to re-activate your terminated F-1 SEVIS record. This has benefits including maintaining CPT/OPT eligibility and avoiding having to repay the SEVIS fee. Please consult with OIA@pratt.edu as needed.