F-1 students are admitted to the United States for 'D/S' (duration of status), which is defined as the time necessary to complete an educational program (determined by I-20 end date) and any authorized practical training plus an additional 60 days (grace period).
F-1 students who are currently maintaining status and making normal progress toward completing their educational objective, but who is unable to complete their course of study by the end date listed on their Form I-20, may be eligible to extend their F-1 status.
Students who require additional time in F-1 status in the United States to complete program requirements must apply for an extension of their I-20 BEFORE their current I-20 end date.
Extension Request Process
To extend your F-1 status, follow these steps:
An extension of your I-20 is necessary if
all of the following are true:
- You are unable to complete your academic program by the end date listed on your I-20.
- You require additional time in F-1 status in the United States to complete program requirements.
Note: If you plan to return home to complete your program requirements (i.e. enrolling in an online class, completing plan B/thesis/dissertation requirements outside of the U.S. with advisor approval), you do not need to extend your I-20. A valid I-20 is required only if you need to maintain F-1 status while in the United States. An expired I-20 has no impact on your academic program or your ability to graduate and earn your degree.
You are eligible for an extension of your I-20 if all of the following are true:
- You request an extension before the end date listed on your I-20.
- Your academic/program advisor confirms that you are making satisfactory progress toward your program and that the additional time required is to complete program requirements (an electronic recommendation is used to verify this during the application process).
- You are/were enrolled in a full course of study per the government's definition during the current or most recent required semester of enrollment.
- You are otherwise maintaining valid F-1 status.
Complete the online application only if:
- You need to extend your F-1 status to remain in the United States to complete program requirements.
- You believe you are eligible to extend your F-1 status.
- Your I-20 is ending at the end of the current semester.
- Your I-20 has not already ended.
Instructions on the specific requirements of the application will be provided within the application itself. An OGE advisor will further determine your eligibility once you submit the application.
Request I-20 Extension
An OGE advisor will contact you within 2 to 3 business days following your request. If it is determined that you are eligible for an extension, a new I-20 will be printed for you and can be picked up in the office. The OGE advisor who reviews your request will inform you when your I-20 is ready for pick up.
FAQs about Extensions
Click on a question to view its response:
Likely not. An I-20 extension is needed and can be granted only if you need an additional semester to complete your program. If you need a few extra weeks to finish up your program, an extension is not needed. Remember that an expired I-20 does not impact your academic program or otherwise prevent you from earning your degree. Also remember that you have a 60-day grace period in which you can remain in the United States and prepare for departure. An extension is only needed if you require time in the United States beyond this 60-day grace period to complete your program.
If you have questions about your specific scenario, please consult with an OGE advisor.
No. Your I-20 can be extended only if you require additional time to complete degree requirements. Personal, non-academic reasons (e.g. travel plans, medical care, etc.) are not relevant to F-1 status and can therefore not be used to extend your I-20. If you have questions about your specific scenario, please consult with an OGE advisor.
No. I-20 extensions can only be approved and processed if the I-20 end date has not yet passed. Keep in mind that F-1 students do have a 60-day grace period after the I-20 end date in which to prepare for departure, begin a new academic program (change of education level), transfer the I-20 to another school, or request authorization for OPT.
No. Extensions of stay are to extend an I-20 end date only. As long as you are admitted to the United States in F-1 status and continue to maintain valid status, it is not necessary to extend or re-apply for a visa. You will, however, not be able to leave the country and return in F-1 status with an expired F-1 visa.
You should consult with a qualified immigration attorney about your specific case. You can find an attorney here: https://www.ailalawyer.com