International Students and Scholars Office

Extending I-20 or DS-2019

Program End Dates and Extensions

The completion date on your I-20 or DS-2019 is an estimate. If you will not complete your program objective by that date, you must request an extension. The U.S. Immigration regulations require that I-20s and DS-2019s remain valid during the course of study.

You are eligible for a program extension if:

  • Your I-20 or DS-2019 has not yet expired. The expiration date is indicated in item 5 of the I-20 and item 3 of the DS-2019.
  • You have been continually maintaining lawful F-1 or J-1 status.
  • The delay in completion of your program of study was caused by compelling academic or medical reasons. Federal regulations about extensions are strict; approval of an extension request is not guaranteed.

Students in F-1 or J-1 status are required by law to comply with the regulations pertaining to their immigration status, including the program extension requirements discussed above.

Failure to apply in a timely manner for a program extension is considered a violation of status and will disqualify you from benefits such as employment eligibility.


  1. Contact your academic department advisor to obtain a letter or an email which verifies your expected completion semester.
  2. Obtain a new bank statement/letter or financial guarantee that covers the amount needed for your extension.
    1. Document must be in English and no more than 6 months old. See the below chart for the amounts required for extension. 
  3. Complete I-20 Program Extension Request 
  4. Allow 10 business days (weekends and holidays are excluded) for ISSO processing
  5. Check your CPP email 
    1. Approval is not automatic; federal government regulations about extensions are strict.
    2. If approved, you will receive an I-20 with new program end date via CPP email. 

Approximate Costs

A spouse requires an additional $5000 and a child an additional $3000 of support.

One year extension:

  Undergraduate Graduate
Living Expenses $20,732
Tuition & Fees $17,818 $16,084
Total $38,550 $36,816

One semester extension:

  Undergraduate Graduate
Living Expenses $10,366 
Tuition & Fees $8,939 $8,042
Total $19,275 $18,408


Your host department must extend your academic appointment and submit a request for an extension of the DS-2019 to the ISSO. If CPP is not your program sponsor (the agency that issued your DS-2019), contact your program sponsor for instructions on initiating an extension request.

When To Apply

Your DS-2019 must be extended before your current expiration date. The request should be submitted to the ISSO at least 30 days prior to the expiration of the DS-2019. You must initiate a request with your department as soon as possible.

Maximum Periods of Stay

  • J-1 SHORT-TERM SCHOLAR: 6 Months

DS-2019 Extensions and Your Visa

An extension of your DS-2019 means that your J-1 immigration status has been extended. You are allowed to stay legally in the U.S. until the end date of the new document, or until your program is completed, whichever is earlier. Extending the DS-2019 (your J-1 status) does not automatically extend the validity of the visa stamp in your passport. A valid visa stamp is not needed while you are in the U.S.; however, if you leave the U.S. and wish to re-enter in J-1 status, you may need to apply for a new visa stamp in your passport.

Be sure to provide a photocopy of your extended DS-2019 to your hiring department for update of the CPP Payroll system.

Frequently Asked Questions

We recommend that you apply to extend your I-20 or DS-2019 up to three months before it expires.

The ISSO must issue a new I-20 or DS-2019 and notify SEVIS if you change your level of study, change your major field of study, or if there is a change in the source of your financial support. These are separate procedures; you need to request a new I-20 or DS-2019 based on these changes. Please refer to Maintaining Visa Status for more information.

Immigration regulations require you to process the program extension prior to the program end date noted on your current I-20 or DS-2019. If you fail to do so, you will be out of status. Contact your International Student Advisor to discuss your situation and options.

Your I-20 remains valid even after your program completion if your International Student Advisor has endorsed page 3 for OPT and you have submitted your OPT application to USCIS. Your SEVIS record remains active and you do not need to extend your I-20 to match the end date on your EAD card.

You will still need a travel signature every six months if you plan to travel outside of the U.S. and will return to resume employment. A letter of employment is needed when you travel.

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