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Authorized Early Withdrawals and the 15-Day Grace Period

December 22, 2014
As a designated school official (DSO), you have the authority to permit authorized early withdrawals to your F-status nonimmigrant students in extenuating circumstances. This includes a temporary absence or withdrawal from school due to a family emergency, personal matter or another circumstance that calls for the student to leave the United States prior to their program’s completion. 
If you grant an F student an authorized early withdrawal or a permitted temporary absence from their course of study, they are permitted a 15-day grace period to depart the United States. Once granted, you need to change their status in the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) to reflect, “Terminated for Authorized Early Withdrawal.” Please remember to include remarks in SEVIS explaining the decision. This explanation may be helpful if the student decides to return to the United States.
F students who are granted an authorized early withdrawal, but do not depart the country within the 15-day grace period, are in violation of their student visa status. This could have negative implications on their ability to reenter the United States and apply for another visa. 
If the student wishes to return to the United States to study, the student must contact you to receive an updated Form I-20, “Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Students.” Depending on how long the student was outside of the United States or out of status, some F students may need to repay the I-901 SEVIS fee and obtain a new SEVIS ID. 
However, if an F student withdraws or leaves the academic program without first receiving approval for an authorized early withdrawal, they will not be granted the 15-day grace period and will lose their status immediately upon leaving the academic program. As a DSO, you will need to update SEVIS to reflect, “Terminated for Unauthorized Early Withdrawal.” This could impede the student’s ability to reenter the country. 
If you have any questions about authorized early withdrawal or the 15-day grace period eligibility for applicable F students, contact the Student and Exchange Visitor Program Response Center.  
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