International Frequently Asked Question

May I take a break in between my studies?

To qualify for Optional Practical Training

To qualify for Optional Practical Training (OPT), an F-1 student must study for a minimum of three consecutive quarters (12 units each quarter). F-1 students may enroll in less than 12 units in their final quarter (usually the third quarter) with approval from an international student adviser.

An  F-1 student who completes a quarter with less than 12 units without approval from an international student adviser is in danger of losing F-1 status.

Taking a study break

F-1 students who complete three quarters of full-time study (12 units for each three quarters) can qualify for a vacation quarter in their fourth quarter if the student plans to return for a following quarter. 

  • Students cannot take a vacation quarter and apply for OPT without resuming their studies for the following quarter.
  • Students cannot enroll in courses in the certificate program when taking a vacation quarter.

International students interested in taking a vacation quarter should contact the International Student Advisor to obtain appropriate authorization in SEVIS.

More information

You can visit the Maintaining Your Status page to learn more about F-1 requirements at UCSC Silicon Valley Professional Education.