Program Extension Regulations
Duration of Status (D/S) is defined as – (a) the time during which an international student is actively pursuing a full course of study and making satisfactory progress towards completion of the degree, or – (b) the period in which the international student is engaging in authorized practical or academic training (plus the designated number of days the student is provided to prepare for and depart the U.S.). If the student is unable to complete the program of study by the date of completion listed on the Certificate of Eligibility (Item #5 on the I-20 or Item #3 on the DS-2019), the student must apply for a “Program Extension”.
There is no fee to apply for a program extension, and no “waiting period” to hear from the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) once the required paperwork is submitted. The ISSO will process program extension requests as allowed by USCIS/J-1 Exchange Visitor Program regulations, and notify the USCIS/J-1 Exchange Visitor Program of your new completion date.
If you are an F-1 student and need a program extension you must apply within the 30-day period before the expiration date on your Form I-20.
In order to obtain a program extension, you must show that you have continually maintained status and that the extension is needed for compelling academic or medical reasons, such as a change of major or research topic, unexpected research problems, or a documented illness. Delays in completing your program caused by academic probation or suspension are not acceptable reasons for program extension approval.
If the completion of studies date has expired or if you do not meet the eligibility requirements to apply for a program extension, you may need to apply to USCIS for reinstatement to lawful F-1 status, if eligible. Serious consequences, including deportation and/or being barred from re-entering the U.S., may result from lengthy or willful overstays.
If you are a J-1 student you are eligible to apply for a program extension at least two to four months before your permission of stay expires as noted on your Form DS-2019. You need to contact the J-1 Responsible Officer about an extension of stay and ask for instructions on how to apply. If you have a DS-2019 issued by North Carolina A&T State University, the J-1 Responsible Officer would be an ISSO advisor. Delays in completion of studies which are caused by academic probation, suspension or financial difficulties are not acceptable reasons for a program extension.
If the completion of studies date has expired or if you do not meet the eligibility requirements to apply for a program extension, you may need to apply for reinstatement to lawful J-1 status, if eligible. Serious consequences, including deportation and/or being barred from re-entering the U.S., may result from lengthy or willful overstays.
Program Extension Application Process
- Program of Study – Completion Form (this form must be completed by the appropriate faculty member in your department)
- Proof of Financial Support: You must present the required funding information for the remainder of program (either in the form of a current bank statement certifying the required funds on deposit or an assistantship award letter).
- Completion of Form I-538 provided by ISSO
Once your program extension application is complete, the ISSO will prepare the appropriate Certificate of Eligibility (Form I-20 or Form DS-2019) showing your new completion date, and notify USCIS/J-1 Exchange Visitor Program of the change.