Academic Withdrawal

All F-1 and J-1 students are required to be enrolled during spring/fall semesters; summer registration is usually not required unless it is the first semester of enrollment or return after an absence.

If a student chooses to withdraw in the middle of a semester, the immigration status must end and the student must depart the U.S. All students who communicate their decision to withdraw while a semester is in session need to be referred to ISSS. Students who choose in-between semesters to not return for the next session of enrollment should also be referred to ISSS.

  • Non-Medical Withdrawal - Deadlines are now in place for students who want to withdraw as well as which session they may return to attend. These deadlines, along with the withdrawal instructions, may be found here.
  • Medical Withdrawal - There is a special type of withdrawal based on documentation of a medical condition, which carries a different set of rules. Note that in the past couple of years ISSS has seen an increase of students attempting to use this reason and submitting a forged medical letter, which are easily purchased online. ISSS now checks the validity of every medical letter submitted to us, and students complete an electronic checklist affirming this is a valid letter and they understand the consequences of submitting a forgery. Confirmed forgeries are now reported to the home college as an academic misconduct violation.

We are also warning students that the federal government seems to be more reluctant to issue new visas or reactivate immigration records for those students who withdraw relatively late in a semester. It is likely that this is because the immigration rules for withdrawal are meant to serve as a formal "vacation" for unexpected situations, such as emergencies at home or a medical situation. It is not meant to be used to escape poor grades, which is the intent of some late withdrawals. Students are warned accordingly of the risks they now take if they choose to withdraw late in a semester.

Retroactive Withdrawal

As of May 2014 the Student and Exchange Visitor Program informed ISSS that retroactive withdrawals and drops under any circumstances are not permissible. If an international student is interested in withdrawing they must do so while the semester to be withdrawn is still in session.

Academic or Misconduct Dismissal

When a student is dismissed from the University of Iowa, there are immigration consequences.

  • Academic Probation - ISSS tracks students who are placed on probation, as well as students who receive grades of D or F as well as nonattendance marks at midterm. Probation does not impact immigration status. A staff member dedicated to working on international student support and retention will reach out to students to offer guidance on academic support options. You may also contact ISSS if you wish to refer a student to us for support.
  • Academic Dismissal - ISSS receives notification following the end of each semester of any students who are academically dismissed, and sends an email notification to each detailing what steps to take and any deadlines. Dismissal does impact immigration status.
  • Misconduct Warning - ISSS is notified by colleges when a misconduct warning is sent to an international student, and an email is sent warning students what would happen to their immigration status if misconduct ever leads to dismissal/expulsion. Warnings do not impact immigration status. We also encourage students not to repeat the misconduct, and offer academic support services.
  • Misconduct Dismissal or Expulsion - If a student is dismissed or expelled due to misconduct, the immigration impact varies depending on whether it occurs while a semester is still in session, or after a semester ends. ISSS is notified when a student is being dismissed due to misconduct, and works with the student regarding immigration impact and deadlines.

Returning After Leave of Absence

Students who have been absent for less than one year from the University of Iowa are not required to be re-admitted. Instead, those students will need to work with ISSS in order to ensure they have the appropriate immigration documentation to return. Please be aware that ISSS may contact the academic advisor to determine how much time the student needs to complete their program, usually via the iHawk e-form system.

Students who have been absent for more than one year from the University of Iowa must apply for readmission through the Office of Admissions.