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Remember that any course drops must be approved while the semester is still in session. International students in F or J status cannot retroactively drop or withdraw courses once a semester has ended.
International students have two ways to drop a course once the semester begins: (1) Using the paper drop form or (2) using the online drop request in MyUI. Either is acceptable, but you should use only one method; please do not do both.
Permission from International Student and Scholar Services is required to process this change in registration for anyone designated in the UI system as “international” (i.e. anyone other than U.S. citizens or Permanent Residents/Green Card holders). Please follow the steps below if you choose to drop online:
- Initiate the drop online in MyUI.
- Log in to https://ihawk.uiowa.edu using your HawkID and password.
- Go to the section titled “Other Student Services.”
- Read the instructions and submit the e-form titled “Course Drop Request.” This alerts ISSS that you are requesting a course drop in MyUI.
- Note that it may take up to 48 hours (weekdays only) for ISSS to process your request. Please do not email ISSS or come in person about your drop request unless four days has passed.
- You will receive an email from ISSS to either let you know that we have approved your drop, or if additional information is needed.
- Remember that your academic advisor must also approve the drop, and most advisors prefer you to see them in person before they will approve.
- Once you have all necessary approvals, you then need to log back in to MyUI to finalize the drop.
Drop Deadline Dates. ISSS (and most academic advisors) will not review e-forms submitted after 4:00 p.m. on weekdays. Drop deadlines are well-published by the Office of the Registrar and it is your responsibility to ensure the e-form is submitted before 4:00 p.m. on any deadline date – requests submitted after this will then require additional approval from the Dean’s office of your college and may be denied. You will find deadline dates listed at http://registrar.uiowa.edu/academic-calendar.
If you are on an F-1 or J-1 student visa:
- If your drop request will put you below full-time (12 s.h. for undergrads or 9 s.h. for grad/professional students) you must also submit a part-time authorization e-form in iHawk and your academic advisor must enter comments in the e-form before we can approve this request.
- If your request will completely withdraw you from all courses, you must fill out the withdrawal e-form in iHawk and leave the U.S. within 15 days.
- If your drop or withdrawal is due to a documented medical condition, please follow the medical part-time authorization instructions.
- For F-1 students: only one online/distance course of up to 3 s.h. can count toward full-time enrollment requirements each semester – the remaining courses used to meet 12 s.h. must all be in-person classes.
- J-1 students cannot count online classes toward full-time enrollment.
If you are on any other type of visa (e.g., H-4, J-2, L-2, etc.): Unfortunately anyone designated in the UI system as “international” (i.e. anyone other than U.S. citizens or Permanent Residents/Green Card holders) must have drop requests reviewed by ISSS. Your request will be approved soon and you will receive notification when it is done.
Definition: Withdrawing from all courses you are taking during the current semester OR completing the current semester but deciding not to return to classes for the next academic semester
How do I withdraw from my classes in the middle of the semester?
Each semester has a withdrawal deadline that is just prior to the final four weeks of classes. Students may sometimes withdraw after this time, but must obtain special permission per regulations in their academic college. Student must obtain the appropriate signatures to withdraw their entire registration. The signatures will vary by college and by the student’s individual circumstances.
What is the general process to withdraw my entire registration?
- Obtain Student Withdrawal Card from the Registrar Service Center (17 Calvin Hall)
- Obtain all necessary signatures, including a signature from International Student and Scholar Services
- Submit Student Withdrawal Card to the Registrar Service Center (17 Calvin Hall)
What happens to my academic record after I withdraw from my classes?
Your academic record will indicate that you withdrew for a given semester. You will not receive grades or academic credit for the courses you had been enrolled in prior to withdrawing your registration for that given semester.
Are there any ramifications to my F-1 record if I choose to withdraw my registration during the current semester?
You must notify an advisor in International Student and Scholar Services of your intent to withdraw.
This can be done when you bring the Student Withdrawal Card to ISSS for a signature; but we recommend meeting an advisor before you make the decision to withdraw your registration. As soon as you submit your withdrawal request to the Office of the Registrar, you must be prepared to depart the U.S. Provided that you notified ISSS of your intent to withdraw, you will have up to 15 days to depart the U.S. If you did not notify ISSS and withdrew from your classes without ISSS approval then you have no grace period and must immediately depart the U.S.
I did complete the semester, but now I’ve decided I want to take some time off. When do I need to depart the U.S.?
If you are still here in Iowa City, please come in to our office to discuss your plans before departure. The issue of departure is a gray regulatory area; ISSS recommends that you depart the U.S. no later than the start of classes for the next semester. You must notify ISSS of your exact departure date. If you have already left the U.S. prior to discussing your situation, please e-mail us as soon as possible at email@example.com. If you fail to notify our office of your plans in a timely manner, your record will auto-terminate for failure to enroll.
Are there any ramifications to my F-1 record if I decide to take some time off?
Yes. You may not remain in the U.S. in F-1 status if you do not intend to register during the next academic term. (Exception: Continuing F-1 students are not required to enroll during the summer registration period). If you decide to take some time off, please discuss your plans with the ISSS. Depending on how long you intend to be gone, different actions will need to be taken with your SEVIS record. If ISSS is not notified, advisors will not be able to take the appropriate actions with your SEVIS record.
How can I return after my absence?
The length of time you are gone affects how you may return to the University of Iowa when you are ready. Please identify how long you plan to be gone and review the information listed below. Please note that what you may need to do depends on if you are gone less or more than 5 months. These 5 months begin accruing either the date we sign your withdrawal form if you are leaving in the middle of a semester or after your last date of enrollment if you leave between academic semesters.
Retroactive Withdrawal means withdrawing from a semester that has already completed. This also covers drops of individuals courses. As of May 2014, the Department of Homeland Security informed ISSS that retroactive withdrawal is not permissible under any circumstances. This means that an international student can no longer receive permission to have registration for a previous semester removed. Any withdrawal request must be approved by ISSS and occur BEFORE the end of the existing semester to be withdrawn.
Withdrawing and Returning to the University of Iowa - Absent Less Than 5 Months
If you will be absent from the U.S. for less than 5 months and not enrolled in classes at the University of Iowa, your SEVIS record must be terminated. You must then leave the U.S. within 15 days of your withdrawal. When you are ready to return, you must contact ISSS so that we can contact SEVP to have your SEVIS record reactivated. We can only contact them up to 60 days before the start of classes for the semester in which you plan to return to the University of Iowa. This means that delays may be possible depending on how long it takes them to reactivate your record, and we cannot guarantee it will be done in time for you to return for the desired semester. This is a risk you take by withdrawing.
Deadlines to withdraw if you wish to return for the next semester:
To ensure sufficient time to have your SEVIS record reactivated, you must withdraw by these deadlines, otherwise you must instead follow the instructions below for "Absent More Than 5 Months" and wait until the following semester to return.
if withdrawing from a spring semester: Withdraw BEFORE April 1 if you wish to return for the 8-week summer session starting in June, otherwise you must wait to return for the fall session starting in August
if withdrawing from a fall semester: Withdraw BEFORE November 1 if you wish to return for the spring session starting in January, otherwise you must wait to return for either the 8-week summer session in June or fall session starting in August, which will require you to follow the "absent more than 5 months" procedure
Please login to your iHawk account (click the blue login button) using your HawkID and password. Go to "F-1 Student Services" and complete the Withdrawal Request-- Less than 5 Months e-form request to have your withdrawal approved.
To reenter the U.S. after your 5 months or less absence, you must have a passport valid for at least six months upon reentry, and a valid F-1 visa. You will also need your current I-20 with a valid travel signature. Travel signatures are valid for entry into the U.S. for one year, provided your document has not expired, and your major, degree level, and/or source of funding has not changed.
Withdrawing and Returning to the University of Iowa - Absent More Than 5 Months
If you will be absent from the U.S. between 5+ months and will not maintain registration at the University of Iowa to keep working on your degree program (such as through an official UI study abroad program or registering for PhD Continuous Registration while working on your dissertation), ISSS is required to terminate your SEVIS record. This does not carry negative connotations and should not affect your ability to return to your studies when you are ready. Please login to your iHawk account (click the blue login button) using your HawkID and password. Go to "F-1 Student Services" and complete the Withdrawal Request-- More than 5 Months e-form request to have your withdrawal approved.
To reenter the U.S. after a 5-12 month absence, you must contact ISSS, ideally at three to five months before your plan to return, in order to obtain a new, initial I-20. Follow the procedures to request this I-20 and submit the I-20 Request Form.
If you will be absent from the U.S. more than 12 months and will not maintain registration, you will need to complete a short form to be officially readmitted to the University of Iowa. Contact the Office of Admissions and click on the information for “Returning Students” for instructions. International Admissions will issue your new I-20.
Because of the length of your absence, you will be issued a new, initial I-20 with a new SEVIS identification number. This means:
- You will be required to pay the SEVIS fee before you will be allowed to re-enter the U.S. Please refer to our instructions on paying the SEVIS fee.
- You will be required to obtain a new F-1 visa even if your old visa still appears to be valid.
- You can only re-enter the U.S. up to 30 days before the report date on the new I-20.
- You will need to contact ISSS as soon as you return to the U.S. If you do not check in, your SEVIS record will be automatically terminated by the system after 30 days and you lose your legal ability to be in the U.S.
- Once you have returned to the U.S., you will not be eligible for Curricular Practical Training or Optional Practical Training until you have been registered full-time for one full academic year(summer session excluded).