Generally, an F-1 student who is admitted for duration of status is not required to apply for extension of stay as long as the student is maintaining status and making normal progress toward completion of his or her educational objective.
An F-1 student who is currently maintaining status and making normal progress toward completing his or her educational objective, but who is unable to complete his or her course of study by the program end date on the SEVIS Form I-20, must apply for an extension of status prior to the end-date of the program . If a student is ineligible to apply for a program extension, he/she will be considered out-of-status and will then need to apply for reinstatement.
Reasons of Delay
There are various circumstances which will be taken into account if there is a delay in the student’s submission of an extension of status application. These compelling academic or medical reasons include: a change of major/research topic, unexpected research problems, or documented illnesses. However, delays caused by a student being place on academic probation or being suspended from the institution are not acceptable reasons for program extensions.
Time Limit to Apply for Extension
If the student applied for an extension of stay after the program end-date printed on the Form I-20, then a DSO may not grant an extension to the student. Generally, it is easier for a student to receive an F-1 extension if the school issues the student a new Form I-20 with an extended time.
An F-1 student who is unable to complete the educational program within the time listed on Form I-20 and who is ineligible for program extension is considered out of status. If eligible, the student may apply for reinstatement.
Electronic Code of Federal Regulations: 8 CFR § 214.2(f)(7)
(Updated 10/12/2012 by AD)
For more information about F-1 visas, please click on one of the following links: