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F-1 Program Extension Requirements

If your Form I-20 will expire before you are able to complete your degree requirements, you will need to apply for a program extension (I-20 extension). The International Center can extend your I-20 only if you have compelling academic or medical reasons that delayed your ability to complete within the time indicated on your current I-20. Extremely important: You must submit your I-20 extension request to the International Center BEFORE your I-20 expires. 

Check Your I-20 Expiration Date

Your I-20 expiration date is the "Program End Date" printed on Page 1 of your I-20. Keep track of your I-20 expiration date - it is your responsibility to ask for more time if you will not finish your program by the date indicated on your I-20.

I-20 Extension Eligibility

The International Center can extend your I-20 only if your program completion was delayed due to compelling academic or medical reasons. Acceptable reasons include:

  • Delays due to a change of major
  • Delays due to a change in thesis or dissertation research topics
  • Delays due to unexpected thesis or dissertation research problems
  • Delays to documented medical illness
  • Delays due to previously-approved leaves of absence (semesters outside the US due to family or other reasons)
  • Other delays due to academically or medically compelling reasons

In order to qualify for an extension, you must still have additional required courses to take and/or you need additional time to complete a required thesis, dissertation, or integrative project. Your I-20 cannot be extended if your only reasons for requesting more time are the following:

  • to take extra courses that are not required for your degree
  • to finish outstanding incompletes for courses already taken
  • to continue your on-campus job
  • to take graduate school or professional exams
  • to search for jobs or internships

These reasons are not considered essential to the completion of degree requirements and cannot be used as the basis for an I-20 extension.

When to Apply for an Extension

In order to ensure that your extension request is approved in a timely manner, meet with an International Center advisor at least ONE month before your I-20 expires.

Earliest date to request an extension: You can make an I-20 extension request at any time it becomes clear that you will need more time to complete your program requirements. The International Center recommends that you meet with an advisor early in the semester before your I-20 expires.

Last date to request an extension: You MUST submit a request to the International Center BEFORE your I-20 expires. Once your I-20 expires, it cannot be extended and you may be required to depart the US.

I-20 Extension Request Procedure

To request an extension of your visa document I-20 or DS-2019 carefully read and follow the instructions below:

Discuss your program progress with the appropriate staff as required by your School/ Program of Study:

 Undergraduate Students

If you are an undergraduate student, your eligibility for an extension will be made in close consultation with your Academic Dean.

Graduate Students- School of Arts and Sciences and Engineering, Cummings, and Friedman

    • In order to request an extension of your I-20 or DS-2019 to complete your graduate degree or graduate-level program, you must first meet with a faculty advisor in your department. Your advisor must review your academic progress and determine how much more time you will reasonably need to complete your program.

Graduate Students- Health Sciences Campus at PHPD, GSBS

    • In order to request an extension of your I-20 or DS-2019 to complete your graduate degree or graduate-level program, you must first discuss your academic plan with the Registrar’s Office Official for your respective school.

Graduate Students- School of Dental Medicine

    • DMD students- In order to request an extension of your I-20 or DS-2019 to complete your graduate degree or graduate-level program, you must first discuss your academic plan with the Dental School Student Affairs Office Official.
    • MS and Post-Graduate students- In order to request an extension of your I-20 or DS-2019 to complete your graduate degree or graduate-level program, you must first discuss your academic plan with TUSDM Registrar’s Office Official and obtain a Request for Academic Extension Form signed by your Program Director, PI, and Director of Advanced Education as applicable.

Graduate Students- Fletcher School

    • In order to request an extension of your I-20 or DS-2019 to complete your graduate degree or graduate-level program, you must first submit the "Capstone/Course Extension Form" to the Registrar first.  Once approved, upload a copy of the form onto the Program Extension request via International Center Portal.

In order to complete the Program Extension Request, you must upload proof of financials for the extended period of study as applicable.  For an estimate of  Tuition Fees, please review the Annual Estimate of Expenses for your program of study or visit your Tufts School's website.  You will be provided with an estimate of living expenses on the online Program Extension Form.

[Note for Fletcher Student] If you request a program extension based on the Capstone Extension (with no remaining courses), you will not be billed for tuition in the extended duration/semester.  However, you need to present  $1,500 per month as extra living expenses (room, board, and relevant costs to live) along with one of the financial documents described below.

Acceptable Documents and Confirmation of Funds:

  1. Bank Statements or Letters- Obtain either a bank statement, in your name, which indicates that you possess sufficient funds OR an affidavit of support from your sponsor and his/her bank statement, which indicate he/she is willing to continue financing your education and living expenses for the duration of your extension of stay.
  2. Non-Tufts Scholarships or Awards- You must provide a recent copy of your scholarship or award.
  3. Tufts Salary/Stipend- Your Academic Advisor or Registrar must confirm the salary, stipend, and health insurance benefits provided by your Department.

Upon receiving approval for an extension from your Advisor or Registrar, please proceed to complete the Program Extension Request via the Request Center on the International Center Portal.

  • On the application, you will be prompted to confirm any dues or pending bills with the university
  • You must submit your Advisor or Registrar's contact information to request an extension recommendation
    • The Advisor or Registrar for your School/Program must confirm the following information through our recommendation submission form:
      1. An explanation of the compelling academic or medical reasons that caused the need for more time to complete your undergraduate degree
      2. Identify a new program completion date by which time you should be able to finish your degree
    • Dental Students do not need to submit another extension recommendation request through the Portal. Please read the instructions carefully to send the recommendation form to your International Student Advisor.
    • Fletcher Students need to download a copy of the Capstone Extension Form after the Fletcher Registrar approves. Also, please enter Reiko Ohmura's full name and email address under the "Electronic Recommendation" page.

After the International Center receives all of the above-listed information and reviews the materials, we will issue a new I-20 within two weeks.