Although an F-1 student is admitted to the United States for "duration of status" to complete an educational program, the student must actually complete his/her program before the program completion date indicated on the I-20 or DS-2019 form. If the student will not complete the academic program by that date, he/she must apply for a program extension.
A student must apply for a program extension at least two weeks before the completion date stated on the I-20 or DS-2019 form. A student who fails to apply for an extension, before the completion date, is considered to be "out of status."
NOTE: Program Extensions are not automatic. The student must request the extension, qualify for the extension, and have a valid academic reason for the extension.
- Student must be in legal F-1 or J-1 status
- Extension is completed prior to program end date
- Student must be currently enrolled and making adequate progress toward degree completion
Valid Extension Reasons
- Change of Major caused delays in degree completion time
- Research difficulties, change in research topics, unexpected research problems
- Problems with course rotation schedules
- Documented illnesses (requires documentation by physician)
Delays caused by academic probation or suspension are not acceptable reasons for program extension.
A student who fails to complete his or her program within the time prescribed and who cannot meet the eligibility criteria for program extension is considered "out of status" and must apply for reinstatement to student status.
Program Extension Procedures
Make an appointment with an immigration adviser at the International Student Office for program extension. Bring the following items to your appointment:
- Valid passport
- Academic adviser’s letter – Letter must include anticipated date of degree completion, outline of courses needed for completion and reason for delay in degree completion
- Updated financial support - (personal bank statement, letter of support from department, or sponsors financial agreement with bank letter).