Program Extension (I-20 Extension)

Program Extension (I-20 Extension)

If you are unable to complete your degree requirements by the completion date specified on your I-20, you must apply for a program extension at least 30 days before but no later than the completion date indicated on the I-20. You may lose your F-1 status and all F-1 benefits if:

  • You fail to apply for a program extension before your I-20 expires, even if you have valid reasons for an extension; or
  • You apply for a program extension in a timely manner, but do not meet the requirements for an extension. 

Eligibility Requirements

F-1 regulations strictly limit when and under what circumstances the Office of International Students and Scholars may grant a program extension. An extension may be granted only if you have continually maintained full-time student status and if the delay in completing your degree is the result of "compelling academic or documented medical reasons." 


Examples of compelling academic reasons for requiring more time are:

  • change of major
  • change or absence of faculty advisor
  • unexpected research problems with data collection or research methodology


The following are not considered acceptable reasons for a program 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 progress at meeting your degree requirements, due to personal, financial, or employment-related reasons
  • you have been placed on academic suspension or probation


In order to request a program extension, you will need to submit the following to the Office of International Students and Scholars through the TC-Compass system:

  1. Most up-to-date degree audit that has been verified and signed by your academic advisor 
  2. Current financial documents certifying availability of financial resources to meet your financial requirements. We recommend you outline your educational (tuition and fees) and personal living expenses to help you calculate your minimum expenses before submitting your financial documents. More information on the cost of attendance at Teachers College can be found here
  3. Submit the Application for Extension of I-20 via TC-Compass
  4. Once you submit the application, your academic advisor will receive an email to provide information documenting: the reason for the delay in program completion, your academic standing, and new academic plan.

Applications for extension of program must be submitted in its entirety at least 30 days prior to the expiration of your current I-20. Upon receiving the above documents, the OISS will review your eligibility for a program extension. 

NOTE: Your application is not complete until your academic advisor submits this information. It is your responsibility to ensure your program extension request is submitted in its entirety in a timely manner.


If your request is approved, an extension for a maximum of one year will be granted. The OISS will update your F-1 records and provide you with a new I-20 with an updated expiration date.

If the OISS determines that you are not eligible for a program extension under F-1 provisions, or if you do not apply for a program extension before the expiration date on your I-20, you automatically lose your F-1 status and must apply for Reinstatement of Status. 


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