When students are admitted to the United States they are issued an I-20 or IAP-66 which reflects the length of time it is anticipated that they will need to complete their studies in the United States. the I-20 may also indicate an extra grace period of 1 year which is generally used when a student is completing practical training.
Students who need more time to complete their course of study than is indicated in item #5 on their I-20 should come to the Office of International Students to apply for an extension of stay. In order to be considered for an extension of stay you will be asked to obtain a transcript, your plan of work, proof of funding, your current immigration documents, and to explain why you were not able to complete your program of study within the normal length of time.
Students may obtain an extension of stay if they continually maintained status and if there is a valid academic or medical reasons for the delay in completing their degrees. Being on probation is not considered by the INS to be a valid reason for asking for an extension of stay.
The application for an extension of stay must be filed no later than 30 days prior to the expiration date on your I-20. This means that you should start gathering the necessary documents about 60 days prior to your I-20 or IAP-66 expiration date. Students who do not complete the extension of stay procedure before expiration of the validity date on their I-20 or IAP-66 will be out of status and therefore lose their immigration benefits. Please review the section of this web page relating to maintenance of status for information about the consequence of falling out of status.
The documents needed for extension of stay are:
Be sure to check the end date in item #5 on your I-20.