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.
As explained on our maintaining status page:
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 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.
Check our e-form processing page for current processing times.
Talk to your academic advisor to update your academic plan. Creating a academic plan is an important part of extending your stay. Once your plan is confirmed, please ask your advisor to complete the required I-20 Extension 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 you need fewer than 12 credits (or 6 credits if summer is your final semester), please be sure to discuss with your academic advisor if you are eligible to apply for Full-Time Certification (graduate students) or if you need a Reduced Course Load to meet the full-time enrollment requirements.
Your expected degree conferral in HUB should also reflect your new extended program conferral. If changes are needed please do so before submitting your extension request.
For additional information on enrollment requirements read our information on Maintaining F-1 Status.
|Full-Time Certification (FTC) ||Reduced Course Load (RCL) |
|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. ||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. |
When requesting an extension you must also check your HUB record to see if your expected graduation term needs any updates. In your HUB student center:
The forms needed to update graduation information in HUB may depend on your situation.
Once submitted the Graduate School will email you with an update on your request and if applicable, notification that your HUB record is updated accordingly. For additional details please consult with your academic department or the Graduate School directly.
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.
After submitting, 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.