Extension of Stay

Extension of Stay Overview

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.

If approved for an I-20 Extension, you will be permitted to remain in the U.S. to complete your degree requirements.

You must apply for and receive your new I-20 before your current I-20 expires.

Eligibility Requirements

To be eligible for an extension of stay, you must show that:

  • You have maintained F-1 status and continually been a full-time student.
  • You must have Full-Time Enrollment for the current semester and your next semester. 
    • If it is not possible to enroll for your next semester or you cannot receive Full-Time Certification from the Graduate School or a Final Semester Reduced Course Load at the time that you are submitting your I-20 Extension request, ISS will require that you show funding for full-time (12 credits) study.
    • If you need fewer than 12 credits (or 9 credits for graduate students with Assistantships), you must be approved for Full-Time Certification from the Graduate School (graduate students only) or have an approved Final Semester Reduced Course Load
  • You are making normal progress towards completing your course of study.
  • You have sufficient funds to cover the cost of the additional semester(s) (tuition, fees and living expenses).
  • The delay in completion was caused by compelling academic or medical reasons. For example:
    • Change of major or research topic
    • Unexpected research problems
    • Documented illness (medical documentation required)
    • Adding a major

The following are not valid reasons for an I-20 Extension:

  • To enroll in extra courses; to repeat the same course for personal interest; and/or to improve one’s GPA
  • To engage in non-required Curricular Practical Training (CPT)
  • To enroll in course work delayed by participation in non-required CPT
  • To complete degree requirements that do not require enrollment (i.e. comprehensive exam, finish pending coursework for an incomplete grade, etc.)
  • To address delays due to academic probation or suspension
  • To request additional time due to issues not directly related to academics. 

If you have completed all degree requirements, you are not eligible for an I-20 Extension of Stay.

Application Timeline

We recommend that you submit your application to ISS at least 30 days before the Program End Date on your I-20. The earliest you can apply is the beginning of the semester in which your I-20 expires (e.g. June 1 end date can request an extension at the beginning of the Spring semester).

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.

Application Steps

To apply for an I-20 Extension of Stay, follow the directions below.

ISS Processing Times

ISS processing times for I-20 Extension requests are currently 12-15 business days. 

Important Reminders

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.