F-1/J-1 international students are expected to complete their degree by the end date on their I-20 or DS-2019. If a student needs additional time to complete his degree, he needs to apply for a program extension (extension of the immigration document) BEFORE the document expires.
For an extension, the student needs a compelling academic or medical reason. Following are the reasons stated in the immigration regulations:
- - Delay caused by a change in major field of study
- - Delay caused by a change in research topic
- - Delay caused by unexpected research problem
- - Delay caused by documented illnesses (Medical reasons must be documented by a medical provider.)
For the academic reasons, the academic advisor should give his professional opinion for the program extension on the Academic Advisor's Recommendation for Program Extension form. If the "Other" category is completed on this recommendation form, the reason given should be a compelling academic reason. For example, if the student spent time before his degree studying at the English Language Center, he would be eligible for a program extension for academic reasons.
Please note that the international student must be making normal progress towards completing the degree in order to qualify for a program extension. If there are any questions about whether an international student is eligible for a program extension, please contact ISSS.