If you are unable to meet the program completion date of your course of studies and need an extension to complete your studies, you are required to apply for a program extension at least 2 months before the end date on your I-20 form. You academic advisor has to fill out the form Request for Academic Program Extension. You then need to bring this statement as well as financial documentation to the Office of International Student Affairs, which will handle your I-20 extension request through the SEVIS system.
Failure to apply for a Program Extension before the I-20 expires will result in the immediate loss of legal status and the ability to work on the campus. A student who has an approved Program Extension will not be eligible for full-time Curricular Practical Training.
If the Office of International Student Affairs certifies that a student has continually maintained legal status, a Program Extension can be approved due to delays caused by compelling academic or medical reasons, such as the following:
• Changes of major or research topics
• Unexpected research problems
• Documented illness
The following are additional eligibility criteria:
• Student must be in legal F-1 status.
• I-20 must reflect student's current program of study.
• Student must possess valid passport.
• Students who have allowed their I-20 to expire are not eligible to apply for a Program Extension and should consult with the Office of International Student Affairs regarding options.
• Delays caused by academic probation or suspension are not acceptable reasons for a Program Extension.
• A student who has been authorized 12 months or more of full-time Curricular Practical Training and/or Optional Practical Training is not eligible for a Program Extension
Students unsure of their eligibility for a Program Extension should consult with the Office of International Student Affairs during a scheduled appointment.
The Office of International Student Affairs can provide the application forms. A letter from the academic adviser is required that contains the following information:
• The detailed reason for the delay in completion.
• Where the student is currently at in his/her program of study.
• When the student will be expected to complete all degree requirements.
A medical reason for the delay requires a letter from the student's physician. The letter must make it clear that the illness prohibited the student from maintaining full-time progress and provide dates of the illness. The letter from the academic adviser described above is also required with a medical delay.
Submit to the Office of International Student Affairs
• Program Extension Form
• Original copy of letter from Academic Adviser
• Letter from physician (if reason for delay is medical)
• Valid Passport
• Unofficial Transcript
• Exception from a Full Course of Study Form(s), if needed
The Office of International Student Affairs will review the application and the letter(s) written by the academic adviser (and physician, in case of documented illness). If the Office of International Student Affairs believes the letter(s) does not meet the acceptable criteria needed for approval under DHS regulations, the student will be asked to arrange for another letter(s).
Upon approval of the application, the Office of International Student Affairs will prepare a new SEVIS I-20 that reflects the new completion date.