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Extending F1 or J1 Visa Status

If you require additional time to complete your academic program, then you will need to extend your I-20 or DS-2019.  Extending your I-20/DS-2019 also extends your F-1/J-1 status.  You must apply for an extension before your I-20/DS-2019 end date!  Failure to do so may result in inconvenient and costly travel abroad in order to regain status. Please note that the processing time for a complete extension application is one week.

Extension Eligibility

To be eligible for an extension, a student must have an academic, medical, or family emergency reason. Some examples include:

  • Change of major, addition of major, or addition of minor
  • Change in research topic
  • Unexpected research problems
  • Additional time needed to complete required classes
  • Documented medical illness
  • Approved Leave of Absence for personal, medical, or family reasons

How to Apply for an Extension

The extension application consists of two items, which must be submitted through the OISS Portal

1. Extension Letter

The Extension Letter has very specific requirements.  The letter must:

  • be written on department/program letterhead
  • be written by your academic advisor, PI or Dean
  • include your full name and Student ID number
  • state why you need an extension (please see criteria above)
  • state which quarter you will finish your degree

If your letter is missing any of these requirements, we will not be able to process your extension.

2. Financial Documentation

F-1 Students: If you have a significant change in your source of funding, you must submit new proof of funding documents to cover the extended period of your I-20. If your funding source has not changed, you are not required to submit new proof of funding documents.

J-1 Students: You must provide proof of sufficient funding to cover the extended period of your I-20/DS-2019.  You may provide a bank statement, bank letter or letter from your department/program.  NOTE: if your advisor/department will be funding your extension then you may obtain one letter that reflects both the academic necessity for extension and funding guarantee.

 Please review the financial documentation requirements for more details on what documents are acceptable.



Once a complete extension application has been submitted, the processing time is one week from the date of submission.