Per U.S. federal regulations, if you are in F-1 status and are unable to meet the program completion date on the I-20 document, you may be granted an extension if the you have continually maintained status and if the delays are caused by compelling academic or medical reasons. Extensions based on academic reasons must be verified by your academic advisor. Extensions based on medical reasons must be verified by your academic advisor and a licensed medical physician.
Your I-20 must be extended prior to the program end date or you will have to apply for reinstatement to Immigration, which involves a fee, and may disqualify you from future employment authorization.
I-20 extensions are granted in maximum 12-month increments.
Acceptable 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 Extension
Step 1: Schedule an appointment with your academic advisor to discuss an extension of your academic program.
Step 2: Submit the Extension of I-20 or DS-2019 form to Office of International Students, Scholars & Programs (ISSP) no later than 2 weeks before your I-20 expires.
Before submitting, be sure your academic advisor is aware of your extension request, as they will receive an email with a link to an online form that they must complete before we can approve it. As a part of your extension form, you will need to submit updated financial documentation.
Step 3: If your extension is approved, ISSP will authorize the extension in SEVIS. If it is not approved, our office will notify you and your academic advisor
Reminder: If you are employed on campus, be sure to contact your supervisor to renew your I-9 document!
Extending your I-20 for a New Program
If you are a current W&M student who has been admitted 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. Once you are officially admitted to the new academic program, you will receive an email from iStart with instructions on how to request your new I-20. If you do not receive the email within a week of your admission, please contact [[w|istart,ISSP]].