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For example if you hold an F1 visa and you want to study abroad (Australia for example) for one semester ?

  • It seems that even if you take a leave for more than 5 months, as long as you're registered and endorsed by the school's international office (e.g. research), you should be fine and will not need a new I20. See ufic.ufl.edu/iss/currentF1studentsLOA.html – xji Jan 9 '17 at 9:43
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Based on the information here, it looks like the answer is yes if you stay 5 months or less. The US doesn't care if you have an Australian visa.

However, you need to get the approval of the designated school official (DSO) who will endorse your I-20 for travel, and make sure your SEVIS record is up-to-date.

You also need to make sure that your original entry visa is still valid, or obtain a new one to re-enter the US. Simply being in F-1 status is not enough.

Your passport (depending on its country of origin) should also be valid for at least 6 months when you re-enter the US.

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