Extending Your I-20 or DS-2019

Extending Your I-20 or DS-2019

Overview

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 Dr. Petoskey in the Study Abroad office before your I-20 expires and request to extend your program, if you will not finish your program by that date.
J-1 students: You must contact Dr. Petoskey in the Study Abroad office before your I-20 expires and request to extend your program, if you will not finish your program by that date.
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

Contact the Study Abroad office, for the proper forms and consult with Dr. Petoskey to make sure everything will be completed in a timely manner.

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.

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. If this somehow should happen, immediately contact Dr. Petoskey to figure out your next step.

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 Dr. Petoskey or Dmitry Satsuk, 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.