I-20 Extension

F-1 International students who are not able to finish their degree program by the completion date on the I-20 can request an I-20 extension. The length of time allowed for extension is based on the recommendation of students' academic adviser.  The extension can not be longer than one calendar year.


You may apply for an extension of program if:

  1. You have not yet exceeded the time limitation placed upon your study by the expected completion of studies date on your I-20
  2. You have continuously maintained lawful F-1 status
  3. The delay in completing program requirements has been caused by compelling academic reasons (such as changes of major field or research topics, or unexpected research problems), or compelling and documented medical reasons

Delays in completing program requirements caused by academic probation or suspension are not acceptable reasons for extension of a program.


We recommend students to submit their request to OIP at least six weeks before the I-20 expiration date.  Your extension request must be approved by OIP at least five business days before your I-20 expiration date.


Email your request to f1@sfsu.edu from your SF State email address. Requests are processed within 5 business days.  We accept digital signatures, scanned copies, and high resolution/clear pictures of the completed form.

  1. Completed & Signed I-20 Extension Form and Proof of Finance (PDF, 214KB).  Your academic advisor must check the reason you need an I-20 extension on the I-20 Extension Form.
  2. Undergraduate students applying for an I-20 extension need to include a completed and signed Baccalaureate Degree Completion Plan form with the I-20 Extension Form.

If you have previously requested a program extension, you must bring a memorandum or letter from your academic advisor.  The letter should be printed on department's original letterhead, and signed by the academic advisor. The letter should:

  • Certify that you have been continuously enrolled for a full course of study.
  • Recommend an extension of your study program.
  • Provide a new date when you are expected to complete your studies.
  • Verify the reason(s) for a delay in your completion of program requirements.

An F-1 advisor will review your request and let you know if there is any problems with your request.  Once your program extension is approved by OIP, you will be given a new I-20 with an updated completion date within five business days.