Requesting a Program Extension

If you are an F-1 or J1 student and you need additional time to complete your degree requirements, it may be possible to “extend,” or change the end date to a later date, on your primary immigration document, either the F-1 I-20 or the J-1DS-2019.

This page contains information about making progress towards your degree and how to request an extension of your I-20 or DS-2019.

Understand: Normal Progress Toward Degree

International students in F-1 or J-1 visa status are expected to make “normal progress toward their degree”.

  • Maintaining normal progress toward a degree is defined as successfully completing courses and other educational objectives that meet the degree requirements in a reasonable period of time. A reasonable period of time is determined by the academic department’s published degree timeline included in the university catalog. Students must also maintain the minimum GPA requirement to continue the degree program.
  • If a student fails to maintain normal progress toward degree, he/she will be deemed to be “out of status” for immigration purposes 8 C.F.R 214.2(f)(5)(i). International students who are experiencing academic difficulty are strongly encouraged to consult with their Academic and International Student Advisors to avoid further complications.
  • Students may NOT postpone graduation to a future semester unless there is a valid academic reason to do so. Career-related reasons are not considered valid academic reasons to delay graduation.
When to Apply

You can only extend your I-20 or DS-2019 BEFORE you reach your program end date, as noted on your I-20/DS-2019.

This is critical: you cannot extend your immigration document once the end date has passed. Your I-20 or DS-2019 must remain valid (unexpired) while you are completing your degree requirements. Therefore, you should apply for an extension as soon as you think you may not graduate by the end date on your I-20/DS-2019. Once your end date has already passed, an extension is not possible, and you’ll need to meet with an ISSO advisor to discuss how to return to valid visa status. The ISSO processing time for an extension request is 7 business days from the date you submit a completed application.

Apply for an Extension

Use the links below to request a program extension through ISSO Connect. The application requires your academic advisor to submit an electronic recommendation supporting your extension. Please discuss your extension plans with your academic advisor before you request the electronic recommendation.

F-1 Student I-20 Extension (use the application for the current term)

J-1 Student DS-2019 Extension

Extensions & OPT

You may not need to extend your program if you’ve already applied for OPT and you only need to finish thesis or disserations courses. If you apply for a program extension after you have applied for OPT, you may invalidate your OPT application and lose your application fee. Please discuss your extension plans with an ISSO immigration advisor, especially if you have already applied for OPT.