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 Eligibility Requirements for Program Extension

This page summarizes the timelines, procedures, and paperwork required to request an extension of the time allowed to complete your program of studies.

The completion of studies date in Item #5 on your most recent Form I-20 is the date by which the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the University expect you to complete requirements for your current program. If you are unable to complete your program of study by that date, you must consult the International Student & Scholar Center (ISSC) a minimum of 30 days before reaching the I-20 completion date. If you are eligible for an extension of time, we will assist you to comply with extension requirements.

You may apply for an extension of your study program if:

  • You need more time to complete your studies beyond the expected completion of studies date in Item #5 on your I-20, and
  • You have continuously maintained lawful F-l status, and
  • The delay in completing program requirements has been caused by compelling academic reasons (such as change of major field or research topic, or unexpected research problems), or compelling and documented medical reasons. Delays in completing program requirements that are caused by academic probation or suspension are not acceptable reasons for extension of a program of study; nor is wanting to take extra courses beyond your degree requirements.

If your completion-of-studies date has passed or if you do not meet the eligibility requirements to apply for program extension, you may need to apply for reinstatement to lawful F-l status. In this case, consult immediately with the staff in the the International Student & Scholar Center (ISSC). 

Application Deadline

You must notify staff in the ISSC of your intent to apply for extension of your study program a minimum of 30 days before your I-20 completion date.  Earlier notification is even better.  This will give you and us sufficient time to prepare and process your request.

If your completion date has already passed, please contact the ISSC immediately.

Application Procedures

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. Your advisor and graduate director or department chair must sign this form and specify 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
  • ISSC when you apply for approval for any actions concerning your status such as or apply for any future immigration benefits such as OPT or other visa matters.

Failure to Comply with Deadline

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.


Updated 11/25/2013