Your student status may be extended beyond the date listed on your I-20, provided you have continually maintained your status and that compelling academic or medical reasons beyond your control necessitate the extension.
Examples of Compelling Reasons
Some of the compelling reasons listed in the regulations are:
- Changes of Major or Research Topics
- Unexpected Research Problems
- Documented Illnesses
The regulations clearly state that any delays caused by academic probation or by academic suspension are not acceptable reasons for extending student status. Additionally, delays caused because of employment (such as curricular practical training or optional practical training) are also not valid reasons for an extension.
You must request the extension before the end date listed on your I-20. Your international student advisor cannot grant an extension if you fail to request it before the end date on your current document.
Request an Extension
The extension is requested by submitting a request to OIP. Your academic advisor and the international student advisor provide the explanation for the need of the extension. This explanation must include not only the reasons for the delay in your progress, but also a statement indicating that you have been in regular contact with your advisor regarding your work towards your degree and provide a detailed work plan to show how you will manage your work during the requested extension period and when you are slated to check in with your advisor regarding your progress.
Please be advised that the statement regarding the need for the extension will be provided to the Department of Homeland Security and attributed to the academic advisor. As a result, the statements must be accurate and truthful.
Students requiring additional time to complete their course of study and who do not qualify for extensions may need to apply for reinstatement.