University of Minnesota
University of Minnesota

F – 1 Students

Program Extension for F-1 Students

General Information

  • A Program Extension is required if a student is unable to complete all degree requirements by the date noted in Item 5 of the SEVIS I-20.
  • A Program Extension application must be submitted to and approved by ISSS before the I-20 expiration date.
  • Failure to process a Program Extension before the expiration of the I-20 results in the loss of legal status and the ability to work on the campus.
  • Students are not eligible for full-time Curricular Practical Training after a Program Extension has been processed.
  • A student who has entered a new degree program but failed to obtain a new I-20 reflecting the new program should have a new I-20 processed at ISSS; this is generally not considered a Program Extension.


  • Student must be in legal F-1 status.
  • I-20 must reflect student’s current program of study
  • Student must possess valid passport
  • Delays in completion must be caused by compelling academic or medical reasons, such as:
    • Changes of major or research topics
    • Unexpected research problems
    • Documented illness
  • Delays caused by academic probation or suspension are not acceptable reasons for a Program Extension
  • A student who has been authorized 12 months or more of full-time Curricular Practical Training and/or Optional Practical Training is not eligible for a Program Extension.

Students unsure of their eligibility for a Program Extension should consult with an ISSS adviser during scheduled Walk-In Hours or a scheduled appointment. Students who are not eligible for a Program Extension should make every effort to complete their program of study before their I-20 expires. Failure to complete the program will result in the loss of legal status and the need to file for Reinstatement with the Dept of Homeland Security, if eligible, or to make a new entry into the U.S. with an “initial attendance” I-20. This will result in the student losing eligibility for Post-Completion Optional Practical Training and/or Curricular Practical Training. Students should consult with an ISSS Adviser regarding their options.


  • Academic Reason for Program Extension: obtain a letter from your academic adviser that contains the following information:
    • A detailed reason for the delay in completion.
    • Where the student is currently at in his/her program
    • When student will be expected to complete all degree requirements.
  • Medical Reason for Program Extension:
    • Obtain letter from Physician verifying:
      • Illness prohibited the student from completing his/her program by the original I-20 end date.
      • Dates of illness.

Approval Process

  • Submit the documentation noted under “Application” to an ISSS Adviser during scheduled Walk-In Hours or during a scheduled appointment – note: ISSS will want the original copies of the academic adviser’s letter and/or the physician’s letter.
  • An ISSS Adviser will review the application. If the ISSS Adviser does not feel the academic adviser’s letter meets with DHS regulations, the student will be asked to obtain another letter.
  • Approval of the Program Extension will result in the issuance of a new I-20 that reflects a new completion date. Student will receive an email when the new I-20 is ready for pick up.
  • Denial of the Program Extension will result in the need for student to apply to the DHS for Reinstatement of Legal Status or make a reentry into the U.S. with an “initial attendance” I-20.

Students on University Payroll

A new Form I-9 must be completed by University Payroll. 2nd Street. Bring your passport, I-94 and new I-20. Salary will be withheld until the new I-9 is processed.