I-20 Extension

An international student in F-1 visa status is given a specified amount of time to complete their degree program. This date is indicated on page 1 of a student’s I-20. If a student is unable to complete their degree by their I-20 end date, then they may need to extend their I-20. If a student is eligible for an I-20 extension, they must extend their I-20 before it expires. Failure to extend an I-20 before its expiration date violates the student’s F-1 status.

Federal regulations, specifically 8 CFR 214.2(f)(7)(iii), stipulate that “delays caused by compelling academic or medical reasons, such as changes of major or research topics, unexpected research problems, or documented illnesses” need to be documented to receive an I-20 extension. 

I-20 Extension Eligibility

To apply for an I-20 extension, as an F-1 student, you must be:

  1. In valid F-1 status;
  2. Making normal academic progress towards your degree completion;
  3. Have a compelling reason for the extension:
    1. Academic reasons such as a change of major, change of research topics, unexpected research problems; 
    2. Medical reasons such as documented illnesses.
  4. Have sufficient funds to cover the additional time needed to complete your degree requirements;
  5. Extend your I-20 before it expires. We recommend that you submit the I-20 extension request no later than 3 weeks before your I-20 expiration date. 

However, please note that not all students are eligible for an I-20 extension. The following are NOT valid reasons for an I-20 extension:

  • To enroll in additional courses that are not required to complete your degree.
  • To enroll in additional courses that delay your graduation.
  • To finish pending coursework for an incomplete grade. 
  • Delays caused by academic notice (probation) or disqualification (DQ).

If you have further questions on your eligibility for an I-20 extension, please schedule an appointment to meet with an advisor in ISSS to discuss further.

How do I extend my I-20?

  1. Meet with your academic department (e.g. academic advisor or graduate program coordinator) to discuss your academic need for an extension.
  2. Meet with an International student advisor in ISSS to discuss your eligibility for an I-20 extension, per federal regulations.
  3. Submit the Form I-20 Extension Request in iSpartan. In the extension request, you will need to:
  4.  State your qualifying reason for an I-20 extension.
  5. Submit financial documents to cover the additional time to complete your degree. If you are extending your program for only one semester, you may provide proof of finances for half of the required costs. 
  6. Declaration of Finance Form.
  7. Financial documentation (i.e. bank letter or statement, in English, the account balance in U.S. dollars). Please refer to the Required Financial Documents for International Students for more information on fees, which include tuition and cost of living estimates, for the academic year.
  8. When you submit the e-form, it will be sent to your academic department to approve and sign off on your I-20 extension request. If your academic department approves the form, it will then be sent to the ISSS office for processing. Once your academic department has signed off on your I-20 Extension request, you will receive an email that your request has been routed to ISSS for processing.
  9. Once received by ISSS, processing time is 5-7 business days. ISSS will email you the updated I-20 with the new program end date, once it has been issued. 

Contact Us

San José State University

One Washington Square
Student Union - CPGE
San Jose, CA 95192-0135

Office Hours

Monday-Friday 9am – 4:30pm

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