Extension of Stay

If you cannot complete your program of study by the end date on your DS-2019 due to compelling academic or medical reasons, you must apply for an extension of stay before your current DS-2019 expires.

Extension of Stay Overview

J-1 students are expected to complete all degree requirements by the Program End Date on their DS-2019. If you will not complete your academic program by the Program End Date (section 3) on your current DS-2019 due to compelling academic or medical reasons, you must file for an Extension of Stay and receive a new DS-2019 with a new Program End Date. 

You must apply for and receive your new DS-2019 before your current DS-2019 expires.

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

Eligibility Requirements

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

  • You have maintained J-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 DS-2019 Extension of Stay 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 for yourself and any J-2 dependents).
  • 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 a DS-2019 Extension:

  • To enroll in extra courses; to repeat the same course for personal interest; and/or to improve one’s GPA
  • 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

If you have completed all degree requirements, you are not eligible for a DS-2019 Extension of Stay.

Application Timeline

We recommend that you submit your application to ISS at least 30–90 days before the Program End Date on your current DS-2019. The earliest you can apply is one semester before the Program End Date on your current DS-2019. 

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 (section 3) on your current DS-2019. If you apply for an Extension of Stay after the Program End Date on your current DS-2019, your application will be denied.  Failure to file a timely application will therefore result in violation of J-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 DS-2019 Program End Date.

Application Steps

Longer ISS Processing Times

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.

To apply for a DS-2019 Extension of Stay, follow the directions below:

Important Reminders

Please keep your new DS-2019 and all of your previous DS-2019’s.  Do not throw away your old DS-2019's as they are an important piece of your immigration history!   

You should carry all of your DS-2019’s when traveling because you may be required to present them as proof of your immigration history.

Important Reminder

 If you apply for a waiver of the Two-Year Home Country Physical Presence Requirement (INA 212e), and your waiver is recommended in writing by the U.S. Department of State (“No Objection Statement”) or you receive Form I-612 from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, you are no longer eligible for any J-1 benefits (DS-2019 Extension, Academic Training, SEVIS Transfer, etc.). Therefore, please consult with ISS before applying for the waiver.  Since 212(e) waiver applications can be complex, we also recommend that you seek assistance from an experienced immigration attorney.