Procedures: You must apply for a program extension before the expected graduation date indicated on your I-20 or DS 2019 form. In order to apply you should:
- Obtain a letter from the chairperson of your department, faculty advisor, or Dean of your school which states that you are a full-time student, your new expected graduation date, and the valid reasons for the delay;
- Submit the above letter, along with the appropriate financial certification for the extended period requested, to the OISS.
The OISS will prepare a new I-20 or DS 2019 form for you, and notify SEVIS of your new graduation date. No approval by the immigration service is required.
NOTE: Students who cannot demonstrate valid academic or medical reasons for their delay will be considered to be in violation of their immigration status and will have to apply for reinstatement of their F-1 or J-1 student status. If you choose to leave the country and re-enter, you will get your F-1 student status back but will not be officially reinstated, and therefore not eligible for certain benefits (for example, practical training) until you have been in legal status for another full academic year.