Program Extension

Program (I-20) Extension

If you are unable to complete your program of study before the program end date on your I-20, you must apply for program extension with CIE at least 2 weeks BEFORE the program end date on your I-20.

Eligibility Requirements

In order to obtain a program extension, you must show that you have continually maintained status and that the extension is needed for compelling academic or medical reasons, such as a change of major or a documented illness. Delays in completing your program caused by academic probation or suspension are not acceptable reasons for program extension approval [8 CFR § 214.2 (f) (7) (iii)].

Extension of stay can be granted only for documented academic or medical reasons. You may be eligible for an I-20 extension if the following criteria are met:

  1. Your I-20 has not yet expired. The expiration date is indicated in item 5 of the I-20.
  2. The delay was caused by documented academic or medical circumstances,
  3. You have sufficient financial resources to fund your studies and living expenses, and
  4. The extension is requested in a timely manner, with sufficient time for processing before the current expiration

Not eligible or I-20 Expired

If your program end date (I-20, section #5) has expired or you do not meet the eligibility requirements to apply for a program extension, it will be necessary to file for reinstatement to F-1 status with USCIS, for which you will have to pay a substantial fee. In addition, failure to apply for an extension of stay in a timely manner is a violation of F-1 regulations, which can carry heavy penalties.

The following are not valid reasons for I-20 extensions:

  • To enroll in extra courses or repeat the same course for personal interest or to improve one’s GPA
  • To engage in research on or off-campus
  • To finish pending coursework for an incomplete grade
  • To engage in non-required Curricular Practical Training (CPT)
  • To enroll in course work delayed by participation in non-required CPT

An I-20 which has already passed the program end date cannot be extended.

How to Apply for a Program Extension

  1. Meet with your academic advisor(s)
    • Undergraduate Students- meet with your major advisor and GE advisor (Sam Tran). Obtain verification of your remaining requirements and an expected completion date.
    • Graduate Students- meet with your major advisor and your project/thesis advisor (if applicable). Obtain verification of your remaining requirements and an expected completion date.
  2. Complete the program extension request 
    • Updated Declaration of Finance form and Verification of Funds are required
    • Program costs are listed here
  3. Email the program extension request request and verifications to to CIE BEFORE to the program end date on your most recent I-20.


Be sure to keep this new I-20 and all previous I-20 forms that you have been issued. They must be submitted upon request to an immigration officer when you travel outside the U.S., for future immigration petitions and applications or to the International Center when applying for any benefits of F-1 status.