F-1 Student Extension to Complete Program

Per U.S. federal regulations, if you are in F-1 status and are unable to meet the program completion date on the Form I-20, you may be granted an extension if you have continually maintained status and if the delays are caused by compelling academic or medical reasons. Extensions based on academic reasons must be verified by your academic advisor. Extensions based on medical reasons must be verified by your academic advisor and a licensed medical physician.

Your I-20 must be extended prior to the program end date or you will have to apply for reinstatement to Immigration, which involves a fee, and may disqualify you from future employment authorization.

I-20 Extensions are granted in maximum 12-month increments.

Acceptable Reasons for an I-20 Extension:

  • Addition of a major/minor or dual degree program
  • Delays caused by unexpected research problems
  • Delays caused by a change in research topic
  • Delays caused by absence/change of required thesis committee members
  • Delays in program due to a verified medical condition


  • You must be in lawful F-1 status
  • You must have maintained full-time status for every semester of your current program during which you have been in F-1 status.
  • Delays in completing your studies must not be caused by academic probation or suspension.

Deadline: You must submit your application to International Student Programs and Services (ISPS) BEFORE the completion date on your I-20. There is no prescribed period in which to do so, except that an extension of an I-20 must take place before the current one expires. Plan ahead to be certain you have enough time for approval of the extension before your I-20 end date!

Applying for an I-20 Extension:

  • Schedule a meeting with the PDSO in ISPS to discuss your application for eligibility
  • If eligibility is determined, schedule an appointment with your academic advisor to discuss an extension of your academic program
  • Discuss with your advisor a petition to the Academic Standing Committee (ASC) to receive approval to extend your academic program
  • If approved, a letter from the ASC must be sent to the PDSO in ISPS, reflecting the approval and the reasons for approval
  • The PDSO will update your SEVIS record and prepare a new I-20 extending your completion date