International Student Services

Extending Your I-20 or DS-2019


The completion date on your I-20 or DS-2019 is an estimate. If you will not complete your program objective by that date, you must request an extension. The U.S. Immigration regulations require that I-20s and DS-2019s remain valid during the course of study.

F-1 students: You must contact International Student Services (ISS) before your I-20 expires by requesting a program extension if you will not finish your program by that date.

J-1 students: You must contact International Student Services (ISS) or your program sponsor before your DS-2019 expires and request a program extension.

You are eligible for a program extension if:

  • Your I-20 or DS-2019 has not yet expired. The expiration date is indicated in item 5 of the I-20 and item 3 of the DS-2019.
  • You have been continually maintaining lawful F-1 or J-1 status.
  • The delay in completion of your program of study was caused by compelling academic or medical reasons.

Students in F-1 or J-1 status are required by law to comply with the regulations pertaining to their immigration status, including the program extension requirements discussed above. Failure to apply in a timely manner for a program extension is considered a violation of status and will disqualify you from benefits such as employment eligibility.

Program Extension Procedure

  1. Complete the Program Extension Request Form
    [J-1 students only: also complete the J-1 Insurance Requirement Statement of Compliance, and attach it to the completed Program Extension Form]
  2. Obtain updated financial documentation issued within the last six months.
  3. Submit the completed Program Extension Request Form and financial documentation to ISS.
    Email the documents to or bring paper copies to the ISS front desk. [J-1 students: Write “J-1 Student: DS-2019 Extension Request” in the email subject line.]
    [J-1 students only: also submit the Insurance Statement of Compliance.]
  4. Allow 7-10 business days for ISS processing.
  5. You will receive an email from ISS ( when your document is ready for pick up. Please staple your new I-20 or DS-2019 on top of your previous documents.
  6. If you work on campus, contact your payroll coordinator to update your I-9 Employment Eligibility Verification form.

Frequently Asked Questions

When should I apply for a program extension?

We recommend that you apply to extend your I-20 or DS-2019 up to three months before it expires.

Will I need a program extension if I change from a Bachelor’s to a Master’s program, or from a Master’s to a PhD program?

ISS must issue a new I-20 or DS-2019 and notify Immigration if you change your level of study, change your major field of study, or if there is a change in the source of your financial support. These are separate procedures; you need to request a new I-20 or DS-2019 based on these changes.

What happens if I do not request the program extension before my current I-20 or DS-2019 expires?

Immigration regulations require you to process the program extension prior to the program end date noted on your current I-20 or DS-2019. If you fail to do so, you will be out of status. Contact your ISS adviser to discuss your situation and options.

I am in F-1 visa status. I finished my degree and was authorized for Optional Practical Training (OPT). Do I still need to maintain a valid I-20?

Your I-20 remains valid even after your program completion if your ISS adviser has endorsed page 3 for OPT and you have submitted your OPT application to USCIS. Your SEVIS record remains active and you do not need to extend your I-20 to match the end date on your EAD card.  You will still need a travel signature every six months if you plan to travel outside of the U.S. and will return to resume employment. A letter of employment is needed when you travel.

Is there a limit to how many program extensions I can request?

You may request multiple program extensions as long as they are for compelling academic or medical reasons and recommended by your academic adviser.