What is a Non-Medical Leave of Absence?

A Non-Medical Leave of Absence (NMLOA) refers to time during which a student interrupts their studies and departs the U.S. for personal reasons. An Emergency Leave (authorized by WeCare) is also considered a NMLOA. Conversely, a Medical Leave of Absence (MLOA) refers to a time during which a student interrupts their studies due to a documented medical condition. You can learn more about taking a MLOA here. 

All students who take a leave of absence of any kind are responsible for reviewing and understanding institutional policies regarding withdrawing from courses in the Northeastern Course Catalog. Students must also follow all of their college/graduate school processes and notify the OGS prior to commencing their leave of absence.

Depending on the length of a NMLOA, a student’s eligibility for employment authorization (Curricular Practical Training/Optional Practical Training/Academic Training) may be affected, so it is important to schedule an appointment with an Designated School Official or DSO (F-1 students) or an Alternate Responsible Officer or ARO (J-1 students) to discuss your circumstances.

How to Request a Non-Medical Leave of Absence

Students must complete ALL of the following steps. Please note that steps 2 and 3 should be completed simultaneously.

1 Do not drop or withdraw from your classes prior to OGS confirming your eligibility!

All F/J students must continue to maintain full time enrollment with appropriate on-ground presence until they have been authorized by a DSO or ARO to drop below full-time enrollment requirements.

2 Schedule an appointment with an OGS Advisor and complete OGS' NMLOA e-form

All students seeking a NMLOA should make an appointment with a DSO/ARO in OGS to discuss how the leave will impact their SEVIS status and future eligibility for SEVIS benefits, such as Curricular Practical Training (CPT), Optional Practical Training (OPT), Academic Training (AT), etc.

Students must also complete OGS’ NMLOA e-form and should do this as early as possible. Students will be asked to add their advisor or secondary approver email to the e-form as a secondary approver.

To schedule an appointment with a DSO or ARO, please call +1-617-373-2310 or visit our front desk on the Boston campus at 354 Richards Hall.

3 Submit a personal leave request via the Registrar Forms link in the Student Hub

Students must make official arrangements for taking a leave of absence by submitting a leave request in the Student Hub. To learn more about the process for submitting the request in the Student Hub, review the Registrar’s knowledge-article on leaves of absence. 

Students should also communicate and make arrangements with their academic advisor or graduate school office.

How to Return from a NMLOA?

Once you are ready to resume your studies at Northeastern University, you can review OGS’ instructions on Returning from a Leave of Absence. 

Key Resources

Notification to OGS of Non-Medical Leave of Absence »

This is to submit a request for a non-medical leave of absence.

Return from Leave of Absence of 5 Months or More »

This is to request a new I-20 to resume classes after leave of absence of 5 months or more taken outside of the U.S.

Return from Leave of Absence Less Than 5 Months »

This is to request a new I-20 to resume classes after a leave of absence of less than 5 months

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