F-1 students are expected to complete all degree requirements by the Program End Date on their I-20. If you will not complete your academic program by the Program End Date on your current I-20 due to compelling academic or medical reasons, you must file for an Extension of Stay and receive a new I-20 with a new Program End Date.
You must apply for and receive your new I-20 before your current I-20 expires.
If approved for an I-20 Extension, you will be permitted to remain in the U.S. to complete your degree requirements.
If you have completed all degree requirements, you are not eligible for an I-20 Extension of Stay.
We recommend that you submit your application to ISS at least 30–90 days before the Program End Date on your current I-20. The earliest you can apply is one semester before the Program End Date on your current I-20.
The maximum length of Extension is 1 year. If more than one year is needed to complete degree requirements, you will need to apply for another Extension in the future.
Your extension request must be submitted and approved by ISS before the Program End Date on your current I-20. If you apply for an Extension of Stay after the Program End Date on your current I-20, your application will be denied. Failure to file a timely application will therefore result in violation of F-1 Status.
We cannot guarantee that your information will be entered into the SEVIS system before your Program End Date unless you submit your documents to us at least 10 business days prior to your current I-20 Program End Date.
Due to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic ISS processing times for this request are longer than usual. Please refer to our COVID-19 FAQ page and check the ISS Services section for details.
Talk to your academic advisor to plan your I-20 extension. Creating a academic plan is an important part of extending your stay as a student. Once your plan is confirmed, please ask your advisor to complete the required recommendation form.
Login to your student HUB center and enroll the number of credits as described in your advisor’s recommendation form (if the enrollment window is open).
If it’s less than 12 credits (or 6 credits if summer is your final semester), please be sure to discuss with your academic department if you are eligible to apply for Full-Time Certification or if you might need a Reduced Course Load to meet the full-time enrollment requirements.
For additional information on enrollment requirements read our information on Maintaining F-1 Status.
Not sure what the difference is between the two? Scroll up and read about the differences on the top right of this page.
We recommend that you submit your application at least 10 business days before your I-20 Program End Date.
After completing this e-form, ISS will send you an estimate of how much financial support you need to show.
ISS will calculate the total amount of financial support that you must document for an Extension of Stay depending upon the number of credit hours you need to complete your program and the number of months / semesters you require to finish your program. You will receive your estimate after submitting your extension request as described above.
After submitting Step 2, an International Student Advisor will review your request. If eligible for an I-20 Extension of Stay, you will be issued a new I-20 with a future Program End Date.
Please keep your new I-20 and all of your previous I-20’s. Do not throw away your old I-20’s as they are an important piece of your immigration history!
You should carry all of your I-20’s when traveling because you may be required to present them as proof of your immigration history.
Full-Time Certification vs Reduced Course Load: What's the Difference?
If you are a graduate student near the end of your program you may be eligible. Contact your department’s graduate coordinator (before the semester begins) to see if you qualify. If you qualify, you will file a form with your academic department and the Graduate School.
The Graduate School has Full-Time Certification forms on their website.
If you are an F-1 student who meets the eligibility requirements for one of the three types of Reduced Course loads, you may apply for this benefit through ISS.