Per U.S. immigration law, a student in F-1 status who is unable to meet the program completion date on the Form I-20 may be granted an extension if the student has continually maintained status and if the delays are caused by compelling academic or medical reasons. Extensions based on academic reasons must be verified by the student's academic advisor. Extensions based on medical reasons must be verified by the academic advisor and a licensed medical physician.
The I-20 must be extended prior to the expiration date or the student will have to apply for reinstatement to Immigration.
I-20 Extensions are granted in maximum 12-month increments.
Legitimate Reasons for an I-20 Extension
- Addition of a major/minor or dual degree program
- Delays caused by unexpected research problems
- Delays caused by a change in research topic
- Delays caused by absence/change of required thesis committee members
- Delays in program due to a verified medical condition
Applying for an I-20 ExtensionStep 1: Schedule an appointment with your academic advisor to discuss an extension of your academic program.
Step 2: Ask your advisor to complete an Academic Advisor Support Memo for I-20 Extension (pdf), verifying your reason for the extension and the estimated time needed for your degree completion.
Step 3: Submit the following forms to the Reves Center no later than 2 weeks prior to the desired I-20 extension:
- Academic Advisor Support Memo for I-20 Extension (pdf)
- Updated financial documentation (e.g. Financial certification form, bank statement, assistantship letter, etc. To locate the current version of the financial certification form, visit the ISSP forms page.)
- I-20 request form (pdf)
Step 4: If your extension is approved, the Reves Center will authorize the extension in SEVIS. If it is not approved, the Reves Center will notify you and your academic advisor
Extending your I-20 for a New Program
If you are a current W&M student who has been accepted to a new academic program (e.g., a Bachelor’s student who has been accepted to a Master’s program), your I-20 must be updated with the new information before it expires. Please submit the following documents to the Reves Center:
- I-20/DS-2019 Request Form
- Updated financial documentation (see instructions on I-20/DS-2019 Request Form)
- Admission letter to the new program