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.
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. Federal regulations about extensions are strict; approval of an extension request is not guaranteed.
Students in F-1 or J-1 status are required by law to comply with the regulations pertaining to their immigration status, including the previously listed program extension requirements. 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.
Extend Your I-20 or DS-2019 through MyISSS.
Frequently Asked Questions
You must apply for a program extension before it expires. You should apply up to two quarters in advance if you have confirmed your academic plan and graduation date with your academic advisor/unit.
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.
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.
You may request multiple program extensions as long as they are for compelling academic or medical reasons and recommended by your academic adviser.