An F-1 student who is unable to finish their program requirements by the program end date on their I-20 is eligible for program extension if he/she has continually maintained lawful status by:
- enrolling full-time (9-18 hours for graduate students)
- making normal progress toward completion of a degree, and
- following all immigration requirements regarding employment and other procedures (see Maintenance of Student Status).
The extension request must be approved by one of the Immigration Advisors in the Graduate School prior to the program end date. Extensions will be granted for a maximum of one (1) year from the current I-20 program end date, and only if
- there is documented evidence of compelling academic or medical reasons for the delay;
- the extension is supported by the academic department;
- there is evidence of financial support for the period of time requested (should be enough to fund tuition/fees and living expenses); and,
- the request is submitted in a timely manner (extension requests should be made between 45 and 30 days before the expiration of the I-20 form (program end date)
The program extension function in SEVIS is disabled once the program end date has passed. If a request for an extension is not made prior to the program end date, the F-1 student status is lost and it will be necessary to file for Reinstatement with USCIS.
Please follow the steps below:
- Complete the Request for I-20.
- Attach a copy of your current I-20 form.
- Provide an original personal bank statement, or an original affidavit of support and original bank statement for a sponsor, assistantship contract, or other original, official, financial certification showing sufficient funding for the requested extension period.
- Obtain a letter from your academic advisor, signed and on departmental letterhead, telling us exactly why you need additional time to complete degree requirements, describing your plan for degree completion, and giving us the new completion date for your degree (MM/DD/YYYY).
- Submit all of the required documents to IGSS in the Graduate Life Center so that a new I-20 form can be issued.
- Your extension request will be documented in SEVIS and a new I-20 form issued.
DO NOT throw away any of your old I-20 forms since you may need them in the future if you want to change your immigration status.