It is important that you finish your program of study by the "Program End Date" on your I-20 (page 1). This end date is the average length of time for students to complete the degree requirements pertaining to their program of study. If you require additional classes or time to finish your academic program or doctoral dissertation during the course of your studies, you may be eligible to apply for an extension on your I-20.
An F-1 student must show that she/he has continually maintained status and that the delays are caused by compelling academic or medical reasons, such as changes of major or research topics, unexpected research problems, or documented illnesses. Delays caused by academic probation or suspension are not acceptable reasons for program extensions. A DSO may not grant an extension if the student did not apply for an extension until after the program end date noted on the Form I-20. [8 CFR 214.2(f)(7)(iii)]
To apply for an I-20 extension, you must submit the request at least ONE month before the end date on your current I-20. Extensions are generally granted for up to one year at a time.
For PhD students, once you have submitted the required documents listed below, your request for extension will be forwarded to the Graduate School leadership for their approval. We will notify you when your request has been approved.
1. Meet with your program coordinator, academic advisor or PI to obtain his/her approval.
2. Submit the I-20 Extension Request e-form, including a letter from your program of study or academic advisor with the following information.
3. We will notify you when your new I-20 is ready. Please allow up to 5 business days to process your request.