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What is Annual Vacation?

June 13, 2019

An annual vacation is an authorized break in a student’s studies that is taken once per academic year and lasts one term.  F-1 students are eligible to take an annual vacation after completing their academic year requirement at a Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP)-certified school and once every year after that.  Although it is most frequently taken during the summer term, it can be taken during another academic term, which is usually determined by a student’s school calendar.  

Annual vacation differs from a school break, which occurs when a school closes for a short period of time during a school term, normally during a U.S. holiday, spring break or winter break.

Before taking annual vacation, F-1 students should speak with their designated school official (DSO). Their DSO can confirm their eligibility for vacation and should sign the student’s Form I-20, “Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status,” if they plan to travel outside of the United States.

F-1 students must be enrolled in a full course of study any time they are not on annual vacation. M-1 students are not eligible for annual vacation.  

Do you have questions about how to maintain F or M student status while studying or on vacation? Visit the Maintaining Status page for additional tips and resources.

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