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International Students and Scholars

Program Extension Regulations for Students

U.S. federal regulations require that you finish your program of study by the completion date on your I-20. If you will not graduate by that date, you must come to International Students and Scholars (ISS) and apply for a program extension at least 10 days before the I-20 or DS-2019 will expire.

There is no fee to apply for a program extension, and no "waiting period" to hear from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) or Department of State once the necessary paperwork is submitted and the change is made in the electronic Student Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS). Staff from ISS will approve all program extension requests allowable by federal regulations, and notify you of your new completion date.

In order to obtain a program extension, you must show that you have continually maintained status and that the extension is needed for compelling academic or medical reasons, such as a change of major or research topic, unexpected research problems, or a documented illness. Delays in completing your program caused by academic probation or suspension are not acceptable reasons for program extension approval. If your completion of studies date has expired or you do not meet the eligibility requirements to apply for a program extension, it will be necessary to file for reinstatement to F-1 or J-1 status. If this is the case, please see ISS immediately to see how you can proceed.

The following items are needed to process a program extension application:

  • Academic Adviser's Recommendation Form (to be completed by the student's faculty adviser;
  • Proof of financial support for the period of the requested extension; and
  • A new Form I-20 or DS-2019 which will be generated through SEVIS by International Students and Scholars. It will show your new completion date, and must be signed by you.


Be sure to keep the new I-20 or DS-2019 and all previous I-20 or DS-2019 forms you have been issued. You may be asked to submit all copies of your immigration documents to an immigration officer when you travel outside the U.S., or to International Students and Scholars when applying for any benefits for which the F-1 or J-1 students are eligible.

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