Instructions for F-1 and J-1 Students Requiring a Reduced Course Load or Leave of Absence due to Temporary Illness or Medical Condition
Step 1. See your doctor at the time you become ill or develop a medical condition.
Step 2. Ask your doctor for a written recommendation for either full medical leave of absence or a reduced course load.
By law, the recommendation must contain the doctor’s license number.
A recommendation may come from a licensed medical doctor, doctor of osteopathy, or licensed clinical psychologist. A new doctor’s recommendation is required for each term or semester you are requesting a reduced course load or leave of absence.
If you are outside of the U.S. at the time you become ill or develop a medical condition and will be remaining outside of the U.S. during your treatment and recovery, you may take a Leave of Absence for up to one year by requesting the form be mailed or faxed to you. You will need a new I-20 or DS-2019 form to return to the UB at a later date.
Step 3. Mail or bring the original doctor’s recommendation letter to the International Center for Students and Scholars office.
The office must receive the recommendation no later than the start of the semester or the date you withdraw from classes.
The International Center for Students and Scholars will write you a letter confirming receipt of the doctor’s letter and will notify the U.S. Immigration Service of your authorized medical leave or reduced course load. A confidential copy of your doctor’s letter will be sent to the UB Health Center.
For full medical leave of absence:
Complete a Leave of Absence Form with UB's Office of the Registrar. This form must be signed by your academic advisor and the International Center for Students and Scholars before being submitted back to the Registrar.
Step 4. When you are well enough to return, obtain a letter from your doctor to allow you to return to full-time study before resuming classes.
Bring or mail this letter to the International Center for Students and Scholars office. This is a requirement of the UB Health Center.
- J-1 students must first consult an International Student Advisor (ARO/RO). Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Submit a doctor’s recommendation for medical leave of absence or part time study each semester as needed.
- A student may be authorized for a reduced course load for a reason of illness or medical condition on more than one occasion while pursuing a course of study. However, in no case may the total accumulated authorization for medical leave or part time study exceed 12 months year per program level (language training, bachelor’s, master’s, doctorate).
- Failure to be properly authorized for medical leave or reduced course load will violate your legal stay in the U.S. and may subject you to severe penalties.
Please contact an International Student Advisor at the International Center for Students and Scholars office if you have questions about this procedure or your legal obligations.