Before a student decides to withdraw or cancel their enrollment or if they are dismissed from UC Berkeley, the student must first speak with an adviser at Berkeley International Office (BIO). It is also important that undergraduates speak with their College advisers (i.e. College of Letters & Science) and graduate students speak with their Graduate Student Affairs Officers or faculty adviser before taking steps to cancel or withdraw. This will help students learn about the consequences, fee payment/reimbursements and readmission.
Withdrawal and Cancellations
All withdrawals or cancellations for F-1/J-1 international students must be submitted via CalCentral. Berkeley International Office must approve all withdrawals.
If BIO approval is received prior to the withdrawal/cancellation, BIO can end the current F-1/ J-1 indicating an "Authorized Withdrawal." Authorized withdrawal carries no negative impact on future immigration status. Authorized Withdrawal allows F-1 students a 15-day grace period during which time they would be able to stay lawfully in the U.S. and prepare for departure or transfer to another U.S. institution. J-1 students have a 30 day grace period for exit. The grace periods for exit begin either from the effective date of the withdrawal or cancellation.
Withdrawal or cancellation without prior Berkeley International Office approval will be reported to SEVIS as "Unauthorized Withdrawal." The SEVIS record will be terminated and lawful F-1/J-1 status including F-1/J-1 employment eligibility and benefits may be lost. Students who withdraw or cancel without BIO approval may face problems or issues in the future when applying for visas are entry to the US due to the prior F-1 status violation.
If a withdrawal is due to a medical condition and the student is approved by BIO and UHS for an official Medical Withdrawal, the SEVIS record will not be terminated for the applicable semester. For more information, review the UHS medical withdrawal process and BIO's medical withdrawal information for F-1 and J-1 students.
See Returning Students for information regarding how to return to UC Berkeley again in F-1/J-1 status to complete your studies.
Planned Leave of Absence
Planned Leave of Absence used by students for non-EAP study abroad is not considered an official registration status for SEVIS purposes. F-1/J-1 students who wish to have a Planned Leave of Absence for non-EAP Study Abroad must have approval from Berkeley International Office.
BIO treats a Planned Leave of Absence in the same way as a withdrawal. (See above.) As a result, BIO must end the I-20 or DS-2019s of students who enroll in the Planned Leave of Absence program in order to study abroad. Per university policy, no Application for Readmission is required for students on Planned Leave of Absence.
Students must contact BIO in order to request a new I-20 or DS-2019 in order to return. See Returning Students for information regarding how to return to UC Berkeley again in F-1/J-1 status to complete your studies.
Students who are dismissed may lose their lawful F-1 or J-1 status. During any semester on probation, students must see a BIO adviser during drop-ins to establish a back-up plan to avoid immigration problems. To avoid a negative SEVIS termination due to dismissal, students who may be dismissed must work with BIO to either 1) identify a new institution to transfer their I-20 or DS-2019 or 2) withdrawal/cancel their UC Berkeley registration prior to the effective dismissal date. Students who are outside the U.S. at the time of dismissal are not eligible to re-enter the U.S. with the UC Berkeley I-20 or DS-2019. Students who are dismissed and remain in the U.S. will begin accruing days of Unlawful Presence, which may lead to future inadmissability to the U.S.
- L&S Undergraduate students can find more information about avoiding dismissal at: