Returning to UMN After Leave for F-1 Students

All F-1 students returning to the University of Minnesota after being outside of the U.S. for a leave of absence will need to follow the steps listed below. This includes individuals who returned home for military service. Those who completed a graduate degree at the UMN and are returning for another graduate degree are also considered “returning students.”

We recommend beginning this process 3 to 6 months before you wish to return to the University to resume your studies.

Steps to Complete

Complete all of the following steps in the order shown to avoid problems. If you have questions, email [email protected] or call +1 612-626-7100.

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1. Get Started

To begin the process:

  • Undergraduate students: Contact your college academic advisor regarding the readmission or reactivation process. The readmission and status reactivation process varies by college, and it may take a few days to several weeks. You are advised to discuss what classes you should take during the first semester after your return. A registration time will be assigned to you.
  • Graduate students: Contact your program or department.

Once you do this, you should try to log into your UMN email account to determine if it is active. If it is not, contact Technology Help for assistance with reactivating your account. You must have an active UMN email account before you can move on to Step 2.

2. Complete Your Returning Student I-20 Request in MyISSS

After you have been readmitted and reactivated to your program, complete the Returning Student I-20 Request e-form in MyISSS. Please be aware:

  • If you are a graduate student and will be holding an assistantship, you must include a copy of your award letter.
  • If you are an undergraduate student and had a Global Excellence Scholarship, contact [email protected] to confirm you will continue to receive your scholarship.

Once your Returning Student I-20 Request is received, ISSS will prepare your new I-20 within 10 business days.

3. Register for Classes

If you do not know your registration time, you should contact your academic advisor (undergraduate students) or department to register for classes. Please note:

  • You will be required to enroll in DUO within one week of registering for classes. The process to do this may be different depending on where you are. Learn more about enrolling in DUO.
  • ISSS will place an AI hold (Determine Visa Status) on your student record at the time of I-20 processing. This hold will not become effective until the start of the semester so you will be able to register for classes before you arrive on campus.

4. Pay the SEVIS Fee and Schedule a Visa Interview (If Necessary)

Upon receiving your new I-20 you must pay the SEVIS I-901 fee, as the I-20 will contain a new SEVIS ID. Print your SEVIS I-901 fee receipt. You will need to bring this receipt to your F-1 visa interview (if applicable) and/or to the immigration inspection process when you enter the U.S.

Next, determine if you need to obtain a new visa.

  • If your F-1 visa is still valid (has not expired) you do not need to apply for a new one. You may use your existing visa and your new UMN I-20 to enter the U.S. when you return to resume your studies at UMN. If your current F-1 visa will expire before you return to the U.S., you will need to obtain a new one.
  • If you need to obtain a new visa, schedule your interview at the nearest U.S. Consulate, preferably in your home country. Complete the Form DS-160. Prepare all the necessary documents for your interview.

5. Arrive on Campus

When to Arrive

You should arrive on campus at least a few days before the first day of classes. The earliest you may return to the U.S. is the "Earliest Admission Date" indicated in section 3 of your new I-20. When deciding when to arrive, remember to include time to find housing (if necessary).

Requirements Upon Arrival

Before the start of classes, you must complete a Returning Student Document Check and a brief Immigration Regulations quiz through MyISSS. You also must update your U.S. mailing address in MyU within 10 days of arriving in the U.S. You may lose your F-1 status if you do not complete these requirements.

To complete your document check, you will need to upload the following documents in MyISSS:

  • Passport
  • F-1 visa
  • I-20
  • Most recent I-94
  • I-901 SEVIS fee receipt
  • Confirmation of completion of the Immigration Regulations quiz

The AI hold on your student record will not be removed until you complete your Returning Student Document Check and it has been approved by ISSS.

Last updated: December 1, 2022