Authorized Early Withdrawal

What is Authorized Early Withdrawal (AEW)

Authorized early withdrawal is a temporary absence outside of the United States for less than five months. This is an option for students who need to unexpectedly leave the United States before their program completion date. Reasons needing to leave the United States can include family emergencies, financial issues, and personal reasons.

Upon applying for AEW, your SEVIS record is terminated and as long as you re-enter the United States within 5 months, IS can reactivate your SEVIS record.

Rules and Regulations Concerning AEW

After submission of the request form, the IS at FAU will terminate your SEVIS record within 5 business days for the reason: “Authorized Early Withdrawal.” You must leave the United States within 15 days of the termination event, or you will be in the United States without a status.

  • Upon termination, all F-1 benefits, such as employment (CPT, on campus job) will cease immediately.
  • SEVIS records of F-2 dependents sponsored under your F-1 status will also be terminated and they must depart the U.S. within 15 days of the termination event, or they will be in the U.S. without a status.
  • You may not use your current F-1 visa to enter the United States until your SEVIS record has been re-activated. You may contact the IS office 30 days before the next available semester start date to request reactivation of your SEVIS record. The IS will request to have your SEVIS record returned to active status. Once the record has been returned to active status, you may apply for your visa and/or return to the United States.
  • You must return to the United States within 5 months in order to keep your immigration status and begin classes by the next available session.
  • If you do not return to the United States within 5 months, you will be required to get a new I-20 and will be obligated to pay another SEVIS Fee. You would also need to re-establish the yearlong (2 consecutive full-time semesters) requirement again for benefits such as CPT and OPT.
  • If you leave the academic program and the country without first receiving approval for an authorized early withdrawal, you will not be granted the 15-day grace period and will lose the status immediately upon leaving the academic program. The termination reason may be “terminated for Unauthorized Early Withdrawal” which could impede the ability to reenter the country. 

Steps to Apply for AEW

Step 1
Verify your eligibility.

  •  Valid F-1 status at the time of application

Step 2 Decide:

  •  Whether you should apply for AEW:
    • Do you intend to withdraw from all of your classes for the current term?
    • Do you intend to have a temporary absence outside of the U.S. for less than five months?

When should you apply for AEW:

  • You should apply before you withdraw from your classes and depart the U.S. for a given semester

When should you depart the United States:

  • Within 15 days of the termination date of your SEVIS record

Step 3 Submit your documents to the FAU International Services office:

Submit your most current I-20 for a travel endorsement.

Submit the AEW e-form:

Please note that once the form has been submitted, your SEVIS records are terminated within 5 business days. You will need to leave the United States within 15 business days.


Step 4 Contact the International Services 30 days before the next available semester starts

30 days contact the IS office and submit the AEW reactivation request. You can fill out the iStart electronic eForm here: ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­

After the IS advisor received your

  • AEW Regain/Reactivate F1 Status request
  • Transcript and proof of enrollment

The IS office will request the correction from SEVIS to activate your status. Please note that the correction can take up to 30 days to approve, so it is important to contact our office minimum 30 days prior to the next available semester.

Please note that FAU closes for holidays and breaks throughout the year, so please plan accordingly.

Here is the FAU Academic Calendar for you to plan ahead of time:

Additional Information Regarding AEW

Early withdrawal from your program may have effects on your academic record. We strongly advise you to check in with the following offices as well:

  • Academic Department – Information regarding your academic record and any type of scholarship/assistantship you may have.
  • Controller Office– Deadlines for refunds and payment.
  • Registrar’s Office – Deadlines for dropping classes.
  • Student Health Services – Student health insurance coverage and fees.

Additionally, you may want to make arrangements regarding your housing and any other obligations you may have while living in the United States.

Frequently Asked Questions

What happens if I am outside the U.S. longer than 5 months?

If you are outside the United States longer than 5 months you will need a new initial I-20 and F-1 visa to re-enter the country. You will also need to pay the SEVIS fee again. Please view our website on the specifics documents you will need for your initial I-20. You can find the information here.

What do I need to come back into the United States within 5 months?

You will need to carry the following documents upon your re-entry to the United States: A valid, unexpired passport with an expiration date at least 6 months in the future, a valid F-1 visa, your most recent I-20 with a valid travel endorsement on page 2; transcripts or summary that shows you are enrolled in classes for the next available semester; and proof of financials.

How will I know if my SEVIS record has been reactivated?

Once your SEVIS record has been returned to active status, the International Services office will send you an email. You will be able to enter the country and/or book your visa appointment.

How many times can I have an AEW?

While there are no limitations to how many times a student can receive AEW, please keep in mind that frequent AEW requests may cause additional questions from the visa officers and/or Port of Entry.

Is AEW considered a negative termination?

No, AEW temporarily allows the IS office to terminate your record in a non-negative fashion. You are able to return back to the United States and resume studies as if you never left.

How do I know the first day of the 5-month period?

The day the International Services terminates your record is the first day of the 5-month period. After we terminate your record, we will notify you of the specific date. It is your responsibility to request to return to the United States within the 5-month period and you must file the request minimum 30 days prior to the beginning of the next term.

If my withdrawal/leave of absence is during the spring semester (before summer break), can I take summer break and then return for the next semester?

If you take summer break right after your leave, you will be considered to be outside of the U.S. for longer then 5 months and you will need to apply for an initial I-20 to start in the following (fall) semester. If you would like to be considered for the reactivation of your current I-20, you will need to take full course load during the summer semester.  


Office of International Services is open Monday through Thursday from 8 a.m. – 6 p.m. and on Friday from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Phone: 561-297-3049