This page summarizes the timelines, procedures, and paperwork required to request an extension of the time allowed to complete your program of studies.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the University expect you to complete your current program by the completion of studies date in Item #5 on your most recent Form I-20. If this is not possible for you, you must consult the International Student & Scholar Center (ISSC) at least 30 days before the completion date. We may be able to help you extend your program.
You may apply for a program extension if:
- You need more time to complete your studies, and
- You have continuously maintained lawful F-1 status, and
- The delay in completing your program has been caused by
- Compelling academic reasons (such as change of major field or research topic, or unexpected research problems)
- Compelling and documented medical reasons
Program extensions are not given for:
- Delays in completing program requirements because of academic probation or suspension
- Wanting to take extra courses beyond your degree requirements
If your completion-of-studies date has passed, or if you are not eligible for program extension, you may need to apply for reinstatement to lawful F-1 status. In this case, consult immediately with the staff in the the International Student & Scholar Center (ISSC).
1. At least 30 days before your I-20 completion date, notify the ISSC staff that you are applying for program extension and set up an appointment with a staff member. You should bring:
- A completed Program Extension Request signed by your advisor and graduate director or department chair, and specifying in writing the reason for the extension. The form will
- Certify that you have been continuously enrolled for a full course of study
- Certify that you are making sufficient academic progress towards the degree
- Recommend an extension of your study program
- Provide a new date when you are expected to complete your studies
- Updated financial support documents. Please use this Declaration and Certification of Finances form.
2. Once this information is received, your SEVIS record will be updated and extended to the new end date. You will receive a new I-20 with the revised completion-of-studies date.
3. You must keep this new I-20 and all previous I-20 forms you have been issued. You may be asked to show them to:
- An immigration officer when you travel outside the United States
- The ISSC when you apply for approval for any actions concerning your status or apply for any future immigration benefits such as OPT or other visa matters.
Failure to Comply with Deadlines
Failure to follow these regulations will have severe consequences for you and any dependents who may have accompanied you to the United States. You will lose the privileges provided to F-1 students who are keeping their status up to date. You will not be eligible to continue as a student without an application to USCIS for reinstatement. You will not be eligible to continue any type of employment (even on-campus employment through a scholarship, fellowship, or assistantship) or to apply for school transfer, practical training, or other F-1 benefits. In some situations, you may be subject to deportation.
If reinstatement becomes necessary, there is a limited time to apply. If you have become out of status, please call or visit the ISSC immediately.