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 (within limits) and any authorized practical training plus 60 days. To determine your duration of status, see the program completion date on your Form I-20.
An F-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 for an extension of stay prior to the program end date on his or her I-20.
An F-1 student, with an expired visa, who is admitted for duration of status, is maintaining status and making normal progress toward completing his or her educational objective is not required to apply for extension of stay.
An F-1 student may be granted an extension if the student has maintained status and shows that the completion delay has been caused by compelling academic or medical reasons, such as changes of major or research topic, unexpected research problems, or documented illness. Delays caused by academic probation or suspension are not acceptable reasons for program extensions.
Program Extension Process
Make an appointment with an OIA advisor at least 30 days prior to the end date on your Form I-20. Bring the following to OIA:
- Current Form I-20
- Passport and Form I-94
- Documentation (from academic advisor or medical doctor) which verifies the specific reason for the delay
If an extension is approved, your SEVIS record will be updated and a new SEVIS I-20 will be issued to you within one week.
An extension may not be granted if the student did not apply until after the program end date noted on the Form I-20. An F-1 student who is unable to complete the educational program within the time listed on the Form I-20 and who is ineligible for a program extension may be out of valid immigration status and should consult with an OIA advisor regarding Reinstatement options.