US flag   Official website of the Department of Homeland Security

U.S. Department of Homeland Security: Study in the States

View Disclaimer

Please note, this content may be outdated. Visit Study in the States' Students, Schools and Blog pages for more timely information on this topic.
Students study abroad to experience different cultures and subjects.

May I participate in a study abroad program?

July 15, 2013

A study abroad program is a good option for an F student to experience different cultures and subjects.

Study abroad is a great option to enhance your studies as an undergraduate or graduate student. You also may participate in a study abroad program or international research while you are completing your dissertation or thesis preparation. Talk to your designated school official (DSO) about class requirements for the time you would enroll in the study abroad program. You still must enroll for and receive the necessary number of credits for a full course of study at the school whose DSO issued your Form I-20, "Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status" (i.e., your Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP)-certified school must accept the credits you receive from the study abroad program). Remember, you always must maintain your status while taking leave from your studies.

If you do not enroll in a full course of study at the school whose DSO issued your Form I-20 during the period of study abroad, you can complete the study abroad program while on an annual vacation term or authorized leave of absence. If you leave the United States for more than five months and are not able to remain enrolled at your school, you will not be able to maintain status. If you want to continue studying in the United States, you must apply for a new visa in your home country (if applicable) and a new Form I-20 from an Student and Exchange Visitor Program-certified school. Talk to your DSO if you have any questions.

No text in 8 CFR 214.2(f) addresses study abroad specifically. We anticipate such text in future revision of the regulation. This article is drawn from other text from three locations in regulation that would relate.

  • 8 CFR 214.2(f)(4)
  • 8 CFR 214.2(f)(5)(iii)
  • 8 CFR 214.2(f)(10)


Back to Blog

Was This Helpful?

Additional Feedback
Additional Feedback