If you are unable to complete your academic program by the completion date shown on your I-20, you must apply for an extension of your F-1 program. Your F-1 program is extended when your I-20 is extended. You must apply for the extension with all supporting documentation no later than one week before the expiration of your current immigration status.
You may be eligible for a program extension if you:
Students may be eligible for a program extension in academic circumstances. Academic circumstances include uncompleted coursework requirements for your degree, a change in your major, or (for graduate students) a change in your research topic or unanticipated research problems. Medical reasons may also support an extension in certain circumstances.
If you do not apply for a program extension prior to the program completion date listed on your I-20, you will fall out of status when your I-20 ends. If you are out of status, you are not eligible for any F-1 student benefits including on-campus employment and practical training. Read more about regaining your F-1 status.
You must be registered full-time during your last semester. If summer is your last semester, you must enroll full-time. If you are an undergraduate and you need fewer than 12 credits to graduate or if you are a graduate student and need fewer than 9 credits to graduate, then you may apply for Reduced Course Load (RCL) authorization. See Full-Time Enrollment for F-1 and J-1 Students for more information.
To request an extension, you must provide the OIE with a completed request no later than five business days before your I-20 end date. You will submit the extension request through iStart. A completed application includes:
Financial Documentation: Your financial documents must show funding for one year or the length of the extension, whichever is shorter. Financial documents must be no more than than six months old and show “liquid” funds. Electronic copies of the financial documents are okay.
Academic Advisor support: Your academic advisor must provide the OIE with the reason for your extension and your new graduation date. This information will be uploaded in iStart.