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Can International Students in the United States Study Abroad?

April 9, 2015
There is growing research that links studying abroad to a successful future. As an F student in the United States, you may have the option to study in other countries while enrolled at a U.S. school. This offers an opportunity for you to experience different cultures and academic subjects.
It is important to talk with your designated school official about course requirements before you apply for a study abroad program. You should also review how to maintain your status to ensure you take the necessary steps to keep your F student status.
If you wish to study abroad, you have two options. The first is to enroll for and receive the necessary number of credits, while you study abroad, for a full course of study from the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP)-certified school that issued your Form I-20, “Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status.” Remember, your SEVP-certified school must accept the credits you receive from the study abroad program.
An alternative, if you do not plan to enroll in a full course of study while you study abroad, is to complete the study abroad program during an annual vacation, such as during your school’s summer break or during an authorized leave of absence from school.
If you leave the United States for more than five months and are not able to remain enrolled at your U.S., SEVP-certified school, you will not be able to maintain your student status. To resume your studies in the United States, you will need to seek readmission in initial status, which includes obtaining a new Form I-20 and paying the I-901 SEVIS fee again. To seek readmission, please speak with your designated school official.
For more information, read “May I participate in a study abroad program?” Also, share this post on Facebook and Twitter with your fellow international students who may want to study abroad.
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