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Extending Immigration Documents

If you are unable to complete your program of study by the "completion of studies" date listed on the front of your most recent I-20 or DS-2019 form (formerly IAP-66) under "Program End Date" on page #1 of the I-20 and item #3 on the DS-2019), you must get a new document. If you are eligible, the international advisor will help you extend your document to complete your studies. You must consult with the international advisor 30 days before reaching the I-20/DS-2019 completion date. J-1 Scholars should consult an international advisor about extension procedures for scholars.

Conditions and Limitations

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  1. You may apply for an extension to your program if:

    1. The expected completion of studies date on your I-20 or DS-2019 has not passed.

    2. You have continuously maintained lawful F-1 or J-1 student status.

    3. The delay in completing program requirements has been caused by compelling academic reasons (such as changes of major field or research topics, or unexpected research problems), or compelling and documented medical reasons. Delays caused by academic probation or suspension are not reasons for extension of a program of study.

  2. You must apply for an extension within the 30-days prior to the end date on your I-20/DS-2019. You should contact the international advisor at least 30 days before this date to allow for ample time to complete your application. If this date has already passed, contact the international advisor immediately about applying for a “reinstatement” to student status.
    If you do not meet the requirements for an extension listed above, you may need to apply for "reinstatement" to lawful F-1 or J-1 status. In this case, immediate consultation with the international advisor is necessary.

Application Process

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Provided you meet all the requirements, the international advisor will authorize the extension. To apply, follow the steps below:


STEP 1: Be Informed. Read this entire handout thoroughly and carefully.

STEP 2: Receive your Academic Advisor’s Recommendation. Have your advisor complete the “Academic Advisor’s Recommendation for Extension of Program of Study here. Please note the difference between completing your degree and graduating. Immigration regulations refer to the date you complete all requirements for a program of study, not to the date the degree is conferred or to the date you participate in graduation ceremonies and receive a certificate or diploma. USCIS ignores your graduation date because it realizes that many students, especially graduate students in thesis or dissertation programs, may complete requirements for a degree any day during the year. This means that the day you complete the last requirement for the degree will be your “completion date”.

STEP 3: Obtain Current Proof of Financial Support. Get proof of financial support to cover the remainder of time you will need to complete your program. For department funding, you may use your assistantship contract form or a letter on department letterhead that describes the amount and duration of the support. If you are funded by another source, we will need a letter of support from your sponsor, as well as original supporting financial documents, such as bank letters or salary statements showing that the funds are available. Call GEO if you are unsure about minimum financial requirements.

STEP 4: Process the Extension with GEO. Bring all of the documents above to the Global Education Office, 2120 Mesa Vista Hall, complete a New I-20 Request form and leave all forms for the international advisor. Return one week later to pick up your new document. When you come in to pick up the document you will be given a new SEVIS I-20 or DS-2019 form which will take the place of your previous I-20 or DS-2019. Please sign under "Student Attestation" on page 1 of your new I-20 or at the bottom of page 1 of your DS-2019 form. You must keep this and all previous copies of your I-20s or DS-2019s, and submit them to an immigration officer when you travel outside the U.S. or apply for any future immigration benefits, or to the international advisor when you apply for benefits that involve processing by that advisor. For F-1 Students, all future benefits will be noted on the new I-20.

STEP 5: Bring your extended I-20/DS-2019 to OGS and Payroll. After you receive your extended I-20 or DS-2019 and sign the new form, please bring a copy to the Office of Graduate Studies (Humanities Bldg., Room 107) if you are a graduate student holding an assistantship. If you have an on-campus job, please bring a copy of your extended I-20 or DS-2019 to the Payroll Department (608 Buena Vista) and the Student Employment Office (in Student Financial Aid Office, Mesa Vista Hall North).

Other Important Information

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It is your responsibility to comply with all immigration regulations which apply to F-1/J-1 students. The international advisor will assist you to do this. Remember to contact the advisor immediately if your I-20/DS-2019 will soon expire or has already expired. If you fail to meet your responsibilities, you may not be eligible to continue (or apply for) benefits provided to students. For example, you may not be eligible for any type of employment (even on-campus employment through a scholarship, fellowship or assistantship) or to apply for school transfer, practical/academic training or other benefits if you do not file for an extension before your document expires.