An F-1/J-1 student who is currently maintaining status and making normal progress toward completing his or her educational objective, but who is unable to complete his or her course of study by the program end date on the Form I-20, must apply prior to the program end date for a program extension. See 8 CFR § 214.2(f)(7).
A student is eligible for a program extension in the following instances:
Change in Academic Plan
- You have changed your major, minor, or research topic and need more time to complete the academic requirements.
Unexpected Research Problems
- Due to circumstances beyond your control, you need more time to conduct necessary research for your academic program. Simply not completing your thesis or dissertation in a timely fashion is not an unexpected research problem.
- You have obtained a Reduced Course Load in the past for documented medical or psychological reasons, which has delayed your academic progress.
Other Compelling Academic Reasons
- Your academic progress has been delayed by some other circumstance beyond your control (e.g. advisor on sabbatical, course cancellation, limited required course offering, internship participation, etc.). Discuss this with your academic advisor. He or she will have to explain these circumstances when completing the second part of your request.
Note: You must have continually maintained your F-1 student status to be eligible for a program extension. Delays caused by academic probation, suspension, or poor academic performance are not grounds for a program extension.
- Meet with an advisor in International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS) prior to the program end date listed on your I-20 to discuss your situation. You do not need to make an appointment.
- If the international student advisor feels that you qualify for a program extension, you will complete the Program Extension Request Form.
- You will receive an email once your advisor has approved or denied your request, as well as a new I-20 that reflects the new program end date.