University of Iowa

Request I-20 After 5-12 Month Absence

Request I-20 After 5-12 Month Absence

Students who have been absent from the U.S. for 5-12 months must request a new Initial Attendance I-20 . This applies only to those students who took a break in their studies and were not registered during the absence. This does not apply to students on a study abroad program or PhD students who continued to research or write for the thesis/dissertation and maintained normal registration with the University of Iowa.

This request is not for students who have been unenrolled and absent from the U.S. for more than 12 months. Such students would need to submit a brief reapplication form to the Office of Admissions. Please contact them directly at


  1. Log in to your iHawk account (click the blue login button) using your HawkID and password. Go to "F-1 Student Services" and complete the e-form "Request I-20 After 5-12 Month Absence."
  2. Once you complete the e-form, your academic advisor will need to review it. Your advisor will receive an email message from ISSS which will provide a link to review your request. Your advisor will be asked to comment on your request.
    • If you are advised by the Academic Advising Center, you should e-mail your advisor before they will approve the e-form request. 
    • If you are advised in an academic department, your departmental advisor may also prefer that you e-mail them; it is a good idea to inform your academic advisor that he/she has been sent an email from the ISSS that will need to be reviewed and approved.
  3. After your advisor comments on your e-form request, you will receive an e-mail from ISSS telling you that we have received it. An ISSS advisor will review the application and will then contact you by e-mail to inform you of the decision or if additional information is needed. 
  4. Once you obtain the new I-20, you will need to pay the SEVIS fee again for your new SEVIS identification number.  Please review instructions.  A new visa must be obtained even if your old one is still valid because you now have a new SEVIS identification number as a result of your absence from the U.S. for over 5 months.  You should take the same financial documentation to apply for the new F-1 visa.  You will not be able to re-enter the U.S. more than 30 days before the start of your program as listed on your new I-20.   You must check-in with ISSS upon your return no later than the first week of classes.  You should bring all immigration documentation when checking-in.  Please remember that 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 sessions excluded).