Updated 12/31/2020 6:38 PM
General information about the process
OGS understands that a medical issue or illness can be a source of anxiety for our students. We are here to support you during this difficult time. Please review the information below and be sure to follow all the steps so that you continue to be compliant with the requirements of your student visa.
Students are required to apply for a medical leave of absence (MLOA) through the University Health and Counseling Services (UHCS). Information on applying for a MLOA can be found at the website of the University Health and Counseling Services . If UHCS approves an official medical leave from the university, UHCS will notify the Office of Global Services (OGS) by email.
NOTE: The information regarding a student’s medical condition is not shared by UHCS with any other office. This information is confidential. The email notification simply states that a MLOA has been approved and includes the start and end dates of approval.
OGS will authorize a medical leave in the student’s SEVIS (Student and Exchange Visitor Information System) record and will email the student to notify them that their medical leave has been approved in SEVIS. Students will receive a new I-20 that reflects the authorized medical leave.
- You should not stop attending or withdraw from classes before OGS authorizes the MLOA in SEVIS.
- UHCS may approve the MLOA for a full year. OGS is required to approve the MLOA in SEVIS each semester/term and updated medical documentation is required. It is the student’s responsibility to meet these requirements.
- The SEVIS system does not permit retroactive MLOA.
- Please click here to view a visual representation of your steps.
Considerations for F-1 Student Status
- Students in F-1 status may remain in the U.S. or may leave the U.S. during a MLOA.
- A student who needs to remain in the U.S. must provide appropriate medical documentation. Please see details at https://studyinthestates.dhs.gov/sevis-help-hub/student-records/manage-program-dates-registration-and-course-load/reduced-course
- A student who chooses to leave the U.S. must inform OGS so that appropriate action can be taken on the SEVIS record. Please see details at https://studyinthestates.dhs.gov/sevis-help-hub/student-records/completions-and-terminations/termination-reasons Please consult with your DSO about your intended return dates so that you can successfully plan your re-entry to Northeastern University as well as to the U.S.
- Students who leave the U.S. during medical leave should request an updated I-20 and travel signature for their return. The request should be made at least 60 days prior to the start date of the semester in which you plan to return to Northeastern University.
- If your I-20 will expire while on MLOA (see Program End Date), you must also request a program extension prior to the Program End Date. This should be done at least 30-60 days prior to the Program End date.
- A student who departs the U.S. for more than five months of MLOA will need a new Initial I-20 for their return. Please be advised that this will reset your eligibility requirements for CPT/OPT. Please familiarize yourself with the five-month rule by visiting https://studyinthestates.dhs.gov/2015/01/what-five-month-rule
- Please note that students who live on campus are not permitted to remain in the residence halls while on a leave.
- Students can only be authorized for 365 days of a medical leave per program level. If a medical leave is needed for more than this time, the student will need to notify OGS and make plans to leave the U.S. A new initial I-20 will be required to return to the U.S. (Please see instructions for obtaining a new initial I-20).
- Students who leave the U.S. during their medical leave may return to the U.S. on their current I-20. You will still need a valid travel signature on your I-20 to return to the U.S.
- A student’s CPT and OPT eligibility are unaffected by taking a medical leave, unless it exceeds 365 days or you depart the U.S. for more than five months and return on an “Initial” I-20.
- Please click here to apply for an OGS Medical Leave of Absence.
We recognize that this may be a stressful time for you. Please do not hesitate to contact an OGS advisor if you have additional questions.
Submit a MLOA Request
Please click here to submit your Medical Leave of Absence request e-form in myOGS.