You should become familiar with the “expiration” date, or program end date, of your I-20. It is listed on page 1, item #5. The program end date is the second date listed.
If you have a full-time I-20, and if you will not complete your program before the program end date listed on your I-20, then you should request an I-20 extension. To do this, you must turn in the “Extension of I-20” form appropriate for your level of study ON OR BEFORE the program end date on the I-20. You may request an extension several months or even a semester before your program end date. In fact, it is especially important for graduate students to apply early for an extension, as it can take several weeks to obtain the required signatures.
If you turn in the request form any time after this, you are out of status. In this case, your SEVIS record will be terminated and you must resume your student immigration status with a new SEVIS record / new I-20 and pay the SEVIS I-901 fee again.
Undergraduate students: Your academic or thesis advisor must fill out the bottom part of the form for you. The advisor needs to state the reason for the extension. Then you will submit the form at the front desk of the Office of International Programs.
Graduate students: The Extension of I-20 form must be signed by the following parties: academic / program advisor, thesis / dissertation supervisor, department chair, academic dean and the graduate school. If you are out of town, please designate a friend in El Paso to assist you with obtaining these signatures. Once the form is submitted to the graduate school, the graduate school will take a few days to review the request and then send the form directly to the Office of International Programs.
Unfortunately, not all students qualify for an I-20 extension. The federal government says that our office can only give you an I-20 extension if something happened which was out of your control. We cannot give an extension if you are not making academic progress in your degree, or if you made poor decisions.
Here are some common examples of times when we may be able to give an I-20 extension:
- You changed your major
- You added a second major
- You were not given enough time to complete the program on the first I-20
- You did one semester of full-time CPT
- You are working on a thesis, dissertation, or final project and something happened to delay the completion of the work
- You took fewer or no classes due to a medical reason with approval from OIP
- You were outside the US for one semester and are behind in your classes
This list does not include every student’s situation. Each student’s extension request will be given careful consideration.
You must be IN F-1/F-3 status at the time you request the I-20. If you are out of status due to a violation committed in the past (for example, you did not take enough classes to maintain your status), then the I-20 extension cannot be approved.
Office of International Programs
203 Union East Bldg * (915) 747-5664 * firstname.lastname@example.org * Hours: Monday-Tuesday 8-6 Wednesday-Friday 8-5
Monday-Friday 8-5 when classes are not in session.