Although an F-1 student is admitted to the United States for “duration of status” to complete and educational program, you must actually complete your program before the program completion date indicated in the SEVIS record and appearing at item 5 on your current I-20. If you will not complete the academic program by that date, you must follow the procedures for program extension.
Eligibility for Extension
You are eligible to apply for an extension if you meet the following criteria:
- You have continually maintained F-1 status.
- The need for an extension is caused by compelling academic or medical reasons, such as change of major, a loss of transfer credits, or documented illness. Academic probation or suspension is not an acceptable reason.
- You apply for extension and your DSO actually updates your SEVIS record to reflect the extension before your Form I-20 expires.
If you do not meet all of the above criteria, you must either leave the U.S. or apply for reinstatement, a cumbersome and somewhat costly process.
Steps you must take
- You are required to provide written evidence from the academic advisor that the extension is warranted specifying why the extension is necessary and what the anticipated completion date of the program of study will be.
- If the extension is requested due to illness, you must provide evidence of the medical condition (e.g., letter from doctor).
- You must bring to the Office of International Student Services the documentation referenced above, your current I-20, passport, I-94 card, and new proof of funding to cover tuition/fees/living expenses to be paid during the extension period.
Steps your DSO will take
- Your DSO will assess your eligibility for program extension.
- Your DSO will complete the extension request in SEVIS and issue a new I-20 showing the new end date, amended financial information, and any remarks that may be required.
- Your DSO will print a new Form I-20, sign it, and instruct you to also sign it.
- If you have dependents with you, your DSO will also issue new Forms I-20 for them showing the revised program end date.