International Student Services

Extension of Program (I-20 Program Extension)

F-1 students are required to complete their program of studies by the date indicated on their most current form I-20. Applications for extension of program must be submitted to the Center for Global Learning (CGL) no later than 30 days prior to the expiration of your I-20. Students who fail to obtain an extension of program prior to the expiration date on the I-20 will be considered to be out of status and must apply for reinstatement or depart the U.S. If you are an F-1 student and require additional time to complete your program of study, you may be eligible for an extension of your F-1 status.


An I-20 extension may be granted if:

  • You have continually maintained F-1 status
  • Your I-20 has not expired
  • the delays are caused by compelling academic or medical reasons, such as:
    • changes of major or research topics
    • unexpected research problems, or
    • documented illnesses.

Delays caused by academic probation or suspension are not acceptable reasons for program extension. The following are also NOT acceptable reasons for requesting an extension:

  • you need to retake courses for which you received unsatisfactory grades
  • you need additional time to make up incomplete courses
  • you failed to work closely or consult with academic advisors
  • you have not made full-time effort at meeting your degree requirements, due to personal, financial, or employment-related reasons


STEP 1: Meet with your academic advisor: Before submitting a request for extension of I-20 meet with your academic advisor and discuss the reason for the extension. You should also agree on a new anticipated program completion date based on the number of credits needed to complete your program.

STEP 2: Gather the Required Documents: In order to submit the application for extension, you will need the following documents:

  • Evidence of financial support: You must provide evidence of readily available funds to cover your tuition and living expenses for up to one academic year. Be sure to review the University’s Cost of Attendance information to calculate your anticipated fees and expenses.
  • Affidavit of Support: If your studies are funded by anyone other than yourself, you must complete the SPU Affidavit of Support associated with your program level:
  • Medical Documents (If applicable): If you need an extension of program due to medical reasons, you must provide documentation from a physician.

STEP 3: Timely Application: Submit the application for extension of program through the International Student Portal at least 30 days before your current Form I-20 expires in order to allow sufficient time for processing. Failure to obtain an extension of program prior to the expiration date of the I-20 will result in loss of legal status.

STEP 4: Review by Academic Advisor: Once you submit the request for Program Extension, your academic advisor will receive an email notification asking them to certify the reason for the extension and confirm your new anticipated completion date.

STEP 5: Review and Approval by a Designated School Official (DSO): Upon recommendation from your Academic Advisor and review of your request, a designated school official (DSO) at the CGL will evaluate your eligibility and issue an updated Form I-20 reflecting the extended program end date. The I-20 will be uploaded to the international student portal. The processing time for an I-20 extension is 14 business days.

STEP 6: Download and Review the Form I-20: Be sure to download and review the I-20 for accuracy before signing it. Notify the CGL immediately if you identify any errors.

It’s important to consult with the CGL for guidance on the specific procedures and requirements for extending your program. We will be able to provide you with accurate information based on your individual circumstances and SPU policies.